Duarte Lima: to be tried for murder in Brazil

He was not long ago condemned to 10 years in jail by a Portuguese court for his part in the Homeland investigation – centring on fraud and money-laundering at scandal-beset BPN bank – and now former PSD parliamentary leader Duarte Lima faces a murder trial in Brazil.

As with the jail term that he has so far skipped on the pretext that he is appealing, Lima looks likely to miss the trial that accuses him of qualified murder as well.

He has always maintained that he will not leave Portugal over the affair which centres on allegations that Lima “lured” heiress Rosalina Ribeiro to a “wilderness area” a few kilometres outside Rio de Janeiro on December 7 2009 and then shot her dead.

The motive, as Público explains today, was that Ribeiro “would not return to him the €5 million that he had paid her, nor sign a document proving the transfer of this sum”.

According to the paper, the Brazilian judge in charge of the case, Ricardo Pinheiro Machado, “has no doubt” that Duarte Lima is the murderer, but what stands in the way of bringing Lima physically to trial is the bizarre fact that despite hundreds of years of shared history, Brazil and Portugal do not have any agreement over extradition. Thus, while Lima stays in Portugal, he escapes Brazilian justice.

Even more baffling is the fact that there has been an international arrest warrant out on Lima since 2009 – but still he remains “free” in Portugal.

Público explains that the minute Lima steps outside the country, he could be arrested.

But for now, the trial in Brazil looks like going ahead without him.

If found guilty, Público estimates likely sentencing as anything from 12 to 30 years behind bars.

Affirming his client’s total refusal to return to Brazil to face the trial, Lima’s lawyer João Ribeiro Filho has told Lusa news agency that the former politician and trained lawyer refutes the charges against him, which Filho claims are “monstrous”.

nat[email protected]