FACE OCULTA ends with slew of guilty verdicts and hefty prison terms

It was one of the longest, most expensive trials in Portugal but now it is over, with a slew of guilty verdicts and prison sentences.
One thing the FACE OCULTA trial has highlighted is the level of intrigue in Portugal that can play out between politicians and big business.
The main defendant, Manuel José Godinho – loosely-known as the scrap-dealer of Ovar – has been sentenced to 17-and-a-half years in jail for the crimes of criminal association, active corruption, traffic of influences, qualified fraud, qualified theft and for “perturbing public tendering”.
Godinho stood accused of creating a corrupt network designed to benefit his group of companies with State contracts.
Also in the dock was former Socialist minister and Millenium bank administrator Armando Vara, who had always maintained his innocence.
Declaring himself to be in shock, Vara left the Aveiro courthouse this morning, after being sentenced to five years in prison for three crimes of traffic of influences.
Also facing five years behind bars is José Penedos, the former president of national energy network REN, found guilty of the crimes of active and passive corruption as well as economic participation in business.
Penedos’ lawyer son Paulo also emerged with a jail sentence of four years for the trafficking of influences.
Passing the sentences, the judge said: “Your criminal activity lasted a long time” – while former EDP real estate administrator Paiva Nunes was condemned to five years imprisonment for passive corruption.
Others, including Godinho’s sons Hugo and João, received varying prison terms.
It was a landmark day in a trial that in total involved 34 people, a host of public and private companies, over 350 witnesses and even phone recordings of conversations between Armando Vara and former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates.
Though Sócrates’ reputation was not helped by association with Vara, his conversations now look likely to be destroyed.
Judges threw out a petition calling for their preservation, writes Público, explaining this is due to legal limits on the holding of evidence.
Thus, as the dust settles on the implications behind today’s judgement, justice that many thought would never see the light of day appears, at least in part, to have been done.