Following one of Portugal’s most costly trials in which he received a 17-and-a-half year jail sentence for fraud, criminal association, trafficking of influences, theft and active and passive corruption, Manuel Godinho – the so-called “scrap metal king of Ovar” – has managed to dodge time behind bars yet again.
Still appealing the condemnation handed down in the Face Oculta (Hidden Face) trial – as well as a third charge for alleged corruption of an inspector working for the Ministry of the Environment, Godinho has now seen a two-and-a-half year jail sentence handed out for a case that “led off from Oculta” suspended.
An earlier court considered he was a flight risk – particularly as he has a home and business now in Brazil – but Porto’s appeals court has apparently decided that “for now it makes no sense for him to complete his sentence”.
The same court is considering Godinho’s appeal over the Face Oculta verdicts, which also condemned former Socialist MPs Armando Vara and José Penedos to five years in jail.
The judicial system in Portugal means, for some, that while appeals are underway, defendants considered guilty are allowed to go free.