Ricardo Salgado’s Alzheimer’s disease has still not been officially ‘acknowledged’ by courts
With the start of the EDP case trial finally set for October 3, Judge Ana Paula Rosa has authorised a request for ‘neurological expertise’ due to the Alzheimer’s diagnosis of one of the principal defendants, Ricardo Salgado – former president of Banco Espírito Santo who faces other court proceedings, but whose defence lawyers insist is unfit to plea.
Judge Ana Paula Rosa has expressly asked the Institute of Forensic Medicine to schedule the examination, and given the time remaining until this trial opens, has asked that this takes place “with the utmost urgency“.
Says Lusa, Ricardo Salgado’s defense “had requested that the trial only begin after the neurological expertise has been carried out”, but the court is understood to have rejected the request because it “does not appear to be absolutely indispensable to the beginning of the trial hearing.”
In the EDP case, Ricardo Salgado is cited for a crime of active corruption for an illegal act, a crime of active corruption and another of money laundering.
Other defendants include former economy minister Manuel Pinho – accused of a crime of passive corruption for an illegal act, another of passive corruption, a crime of money laundering and a crime of tax fraud – and his wife Alexandra, cited for a crime of money laundering and another of tax fraud in material co-authorship with her husband – who has been under house arrest since December 2021.
According to Lusa’s information, Judge Rosa has scheduled 30 sessions until the beginning of January to hear the case, with January 11, 2024 reserved for the final arguments of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and January 15 through to 18 for the final statements of Manuel Pinho, Alexandra Pinho and Ricardo Salgado (if Mr Salgado ends up taking part in the proceedings at all).
As to what this is about, the details have almost been lost in the mists of time. Manuel Pinho himself has referred to the Public Prosecutor’s case being “fantasy”, confusing corruption with tax evasion, for which he has already apologised and regularised his situation.
In Manuel Pinho’s eyes, he has been put through a nightmare, under false and vindictive pretences. The case was first opened 11 years ago, with charges only having been brought last year.
Reports earlier this year explain that, according to the charge sheet, Mr Pinho had a “corruptive pact with the former president of Banco Espírito Santo, through which he will have received around five million euros for allegedly favouring BES interests (at the time BES was a shareholder in EDP).
“According to the accusation, Manuel Pinho, first as minister of the economy and later as the person responsible for Portugal’s candidacy for the organisation of the Ryder Cup acted in detriment of the public interest, following the private interests of Banco Espirito Santo/ Grupo Espírito Santo (BES/GES) and Ricardo Salgado.
“In this way, according to the Public Prosecutor, Manuel Pinho benefited from BES/ GES projects, and/ or projects financed by them, namely PIN (Potential National Interest) projects such as Herdades da Comporta and Pinheirinho.
“Also according to the indictment, Alexandra Pinho set up the offshore company Tartaruga Foundation with her husband to hide payments made by (Ricardo Salgado) to Manuel Pinho under the aforementioned corruption agreement”.
Ricardo Salgado’s defence team has said the accusation against their client is based on a speculative narrative, exacerbated with adjectives and ‘novelette theories‘, full of irrelevant facts and, to a large extent, based on newspaper reports.