by CHRIS GRAEME
The Serious Fraud Squad of the British Police have asked the Portuguese authorities for access to Prime Minister José Sócrates’ bank accounts.
The latest pre-election bombshell for the Prime Minister appeared in the weekly current affairs magazine Sábado, which reports that a request letter was sent to the Procurator-General of the Portuguese Republic over his alleged involvement in the planning permission process of the Freeport Outlet at Alcochete, south of Lisbon.
The British authorities began investigating the Freeport planning permission process at the request of Frank Carlucci of the US Carlyle Group which bought Freeport.
At the same time the British authorities are investigating Freeport’s past activities in the United Kingdom, the Portuguese authorities are investigating the company and several key political and business figures following a denunciation that there had been illegal financial business dealings over Freeport’s planning permission licence.
José Sócrates has denied for the outset any improper conduct with regards to the planning permission process approval.
Sábado also reports that the British authorities have also asked for specific information about the former president of the Nature Conservation Institute (Instituto de Conservação da Natureza), Carlos Guerra), Manuel Pedro, one of the partners of the company responsible for getting planning permission approval in the first place, Smith & Pedro.
It is reported that they also want information about the involvement of the former President of Alcochete Câmara, José Inocêncio.
So far the Portuguese Chief Prosecutor at the Central Department for Penal Action and Investigation (Departamento Central de Investigação e Acção Penal-DCIAP), Cândida Almeida, claims that there are “no suspects or defendants in the Freeport Case”.
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