Brazil “wants to investigate Sócrates and Lena (construction) group”, says tabloid

Brazilian justice is now reported to be showing in official interest in the ongoing corruption investigations involving former prime minister José Sócrates, Octapharma – the pharmaceutical company that hired him after he left office – and construction giant Grupo Lena.

According to national tabloid Correio da Manhã, Brazil’s principal party in Opposition, the PSDB (social democrats) has called for an exchange of information “to combat the web of corruption in the private sector”.

At issue are business dealings of Octapharma – whose president Paulo Lalanda e Costa has already been implicated in multiple investigations involving Sócrates, including Operation Labyrinth, centred on the fraudulent emission of so-called “golden visas”.

PSDB leader Álvaro Dias is demanding an “urgent audit of the dealings of Lalanda e Costa’s company”, writes national tabloid Correio da Manhã this morning, stressing that the politician points to connections between Operation Marquês and his own country’s massive financial investigation, Operation Lava Jato (Car Wash).~

The detailed audit should “identify possible irregularities” and who is responsible for them, explained the 72-year-old politician.
It would also show “information relevant to Operation Marquês and motivate a better sharing of information between the investigations of Lava Jato and Marquês”.

Dias’ request, put to the Brazilian senate earlier this month, seeks investigation of Octapharma’s contracts with the health ministry over the last six years during which Sócrates was a consultant, adds CM.

At issue, writes the paper, are business dealings worth €141 million.

Dias’ request, which also touches on suspicions that politicians “received money for allowing business to go ahead”, will now go forwards to Brazil’s Court of Auditors and is likely to initiative a new investigation, says CM.

Dias himself explained that “in the face of suspicions that hang over” Octapharma business with the Brazilian health ministry, “parliament and Brazilian society cannot accept the lack of legal clarity”.

CM has delighted in this news story, particularly considering that a judge in Portugal has forbidden the paper from carrying any ‘inside’ news on Marquês developments.

Civil court judge Florbela Lança recently upheld an injunction put into place over a month ago forbidding CM’s owners, the Cofina group – from reporting any more of its exclusives on the case.

The injunction was requested by Sócrates’ lawyers.