The vice-president of one of Portugal’s biggest football clubs FC Porto has been made an ‘arguido’ (official suspect) for his alleged connection with a private security company being investigated for violent criminal activity in the Porto nightlife.
Antero Henrique is one of dozens of people being investigated in the PSP police operation, entitled ‘Fénix’.
According to the national media, Porto-based company SPDE is suspected of the crimes of “criminal association, coercion and extortion” as well as running an “illegal security scheme” often resorting to violence and intimidation.
The company is in charge of security at FC Porto matches and its clientele includes some of the city’s most popular night spots.
So far, 15 people have been arrested and a total of 50 houses and establishments have been searched by the police. Some of those arrested are said to be part of a “violent group” operating in the Porto nightlife.
According to Correio da Manhã newspaper, Antero Henrique is believed to have used the company’s services to spy on FC Porto’s footballers and keep them under close watch.
The newspaper also says that PSP police have “thousands of hours-worth of phone tapings” with “incriminating conversations” between Antero Henrique and Eduardo Silva, the owner of SPDE and ‘king’ of Porto’s nightlife who has also been arrested.
Searches were conducted at Antero Henrique’s house and office, where PSP police are said to have confiscated €70,000 in €500 notes, reports CM.
FC Porto also announced on its website that searches were conducted at its headquarters and that “both the club and its vice-president are available to cooperate with the investigation”.
In total, “10 cars, €121,000 and 40 weapons” are said to have been confiscated in all of the searches linked to the investigation.
‘Super-judge’ in charge of case
Meantime, it is reported that the case has been moved to Lisbon and will be overseen by ‘super-judge’ Carlos Alexandre – the man behind the Operação Marquês investigation, which has seen former prime minister José Sócrates jailed for the past seven months.
CM says he will personally be interrogating the 15 people who have been arrested.
By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]
Photo: FC Porto vice-president Antero Henrique