Former fugitive from justice João Rendeiro has heard this morning that his bid for ‘freedom’ in exchange for a €2,000 bail surety has been refused – not only on the grounds that it was a “very low” amount (considering the financial issues at stake) but because a fugitive from justice should not qualify for bail.
Echoing the frustrations of everyday citizens who have been interviewed over this episode, judge Rajesh Parshotam said: “South Africa cannot afford to be seen as a safe place for fugitives”.
“The defendant has every probability of absconding: if he did not respect judicial processes in Portugal, why would he respect them in South Africa?”
“Granting freedom would not be in the interests of justice, either here or in Portugal” he said, confirming: “Bail is denied. The defendant will continue in custody”.
A new hearing has been set for January 10.
Mr Rendeiro is believed to be being returned to the notorious Westville prison in which he has already encountered purported death-threats, and demands for money.
The 69-year-old is described as having been “visibly taken aback” by the judge’s decision. He declined to speak afterwards with assembled journalists.
As numerous reports on Mr Rendeiro’s predicament stress, the collapse of BPP “affected thousands” of clients (leaving many with considerable financial losses). “The bank’s collapse caused hundreds of millions of euros worth of losses to the State – yet its former president – and others among the top brass – have all been found guilty of extracting millions for their own personal benefits”(click here).
In other words, the level of public sympathy for this Portuguese (former) fugitive is almost certainly extremely low.
As for Mr Rendeiro’s prospects, Judge Parshotam clearly believes they are slim. He “overruled” all the arguments of the defence which continues to argue that Mr Rendeiro was wrongly convicted, and is being extradited without requisite legal justification.
Mr Rendeiro’s defence team has said it will be appealing today’s decision, but everything looks like a very un-5-star Christmas and New Year for the man who up until last Saturday had been travelling first class.