Just home from a holiday in Sardinia – where Portuguese holidaymakers describe him speaking French in order to divert their attentions – former BES banker Ricardo Salgado is once again in the news today, this time for showing “preliminary signs of Alzheimer’s disease”.
By all accounts, his trial – extracted from the Operation Marquês investigation – for allegedly having siphoned almost €11 million from Group Espírito Santo will still go ahead. But his defence is very possibly hoping that this development may see it collapse.
Says Jornal de Notícias, Mr Salgados’ lawyers have already sent various medical reports to the presiding judge, “confirming their client’s illness”.
The Champalimaud Foundation and Senior Neurological Centre, where Mr Salgado is being accompanied, “all agree that the patient has developed increasing difficulty in realising cognitive tasks”, explains the paper.
Indeed part of his recent trip overseas is understood to have been to carry out further medical exams in Switzerland “to find out how the disease could develop”.
Thus, the court may opt to “recognise” Mr Salgado’s lack of capacity to answer any questions, or make any kind of declaration – or, should he decide to speak, his illness will have to be taken into account.
For now, therefore, Mr Salgado continues to face the three charges of abuse of confidence – each one punishable with jail terms ranging from one to eight years.
Expresso reported recently that he still faces the BES and Monte Branco trials (should these criminal investigations ever reach the trial stage), with the former seeing him indicted with 65 crimes, including criminal association, money-laundering, qualified fraud and document falsification (click here).
Meantime staunch ‘anti-corruption’ campaigner and former Euro MP Ana Gomes has told Porto Canal that regarding Mr Salgado’s recent holiday to Sardinia, she feels he is “playing with the Portuguese people” and with Justice. He is accused of “serious economic crimes” which had major effects on the country and many of its citizens, she said, but with his money and contacts and successive appeals he is doing everything to delay the course of Justice. Ms Gomes added that the whole strategy of Mr Salgado’s defence will be to delay in the hope that his alleged crimes will ‘lapse’ by running over stipulated judicial time-limits.