As the eight-year-long Ferrostaal submarine case finally fell apart last week with no one receiving any convictions, Correio da Manhã reports that the two hugely expensive underwater craft will be costing another €300 million – just for “technical maintenance”.
The subs, which effectively cost the Portuguese State €1 billion in 2010, and have been the centre of a DCIAP (serious crimes) investigation into high-level corruption and money-laundering, will require €10 million-worth of servicing for every year of their 30-year lifespan, says the newspaper.
The costs will fall to the Navy, as when the controversial deal was signed with a German consortium – which has since seen two former bosses receiving suspended jail sentences – no maintenance terms were negotiated.
Naval engineers have since said that “the technological complexity of the submarines” means that the bulk of any maintenance will have to be carried out by the manufacturer – hence the high annual costs.
For now, the Tridente’s first ‘service’ has been scheduled for a German shipyard later this year – and a maximum of €5 million have been assigned to the exercise. It is still not known if the submarine will require any major repairs.
The deal was signed in 2004 when the president of the European Commission Durão Barroso was Prime Minister and the current Deputy PM Paulo Portas was Defence Minister, and the two subs, Tridente and Arpão, were built in Germany between 2007 and 2010.
Seven Portuguese businessmen and three Germans were embroiled in long-running investigations which centred on allegations of forged invoices.
But judges in Lisbon decided last Friday that prosecutors had not provided enough evidence to show the invoices were indeed false.
The state prosecution service has since announced that it will be appealing the verdict.
Meantime, Ferrostaal was sentenced in 2011 in Germany to pay a €140 million fine for links to corruption cases related to sales of submarines in Portugal and Greece.