Thirty-six people, among them former Socialist politician and bank administrator Armando Vara, face last-ditch appeals against their convictions in the “Face Oculta” corruption trial, which ended last year with hefty jail terms for many of them. As newspapers explain, the appeals at Porto Appeals Court will be the last stop for almost all defendants. If cases are upheld, prison sentences could kick-in immediately. Vara faces five years behind bars for his part in what was one of the longest, most expensive trials in Portugal to date.
It was an investigation that demonstrated the level of intrigue that can play out between politicians and big business – and to an extent it was the forerunner of the tortuous Operation Marquês which Portugal is witnessing today.
Vara’s name appears also in the investigations ongoing into alleged corruption surrounding José Sócrates. But for now, he is appealing against his Face Oculta conviction.
Head ‘honcho’ of the trial, Manuel Godinho – dubbed the “Scrapmerchant of Ovar” – is the only defendant who will have the possibility of taking matters further if Porto upholds his 17-year jail conviction, writes Correio da Manhã today.
As CM explained recently, Godinho already regularly travels to Brazil where he has set up a new business empire.