Former deputy mayor of Monchique must “pay back €500,000” or go to jail

In a case that has dragged on seemingly endlessly for a Monchique council keen to get its money back, Évora appeal court judges have finally arrived at a full stop: former deputy mayor António Mira must pay back the hundreds of thousands he stole while in charge of borough finances between 2003 – 2009, or go to jail for five years.

As newspapers are pointing out this morning, Mira’s final bill will be “almost €500,000”.

Current mayor Rui André said when Mira was convicted on seven counts of embezzlement and four of falsification of documents by Portimão judges almost a year ago: “I am counting on the money so that we can bring projects we have in hand to life in the next few years”.

Indeed, the council’s budget for this year has the €500,000 already pencilled in, André told Público – stressing that for Monchique, the issue of being paid back is “essential”.

Mira’s appeal however delayed anything going forwards following his guilty verdict at Portimão court last May (click here).

Now that appeal court judges have rejected his challenge, the original sentence sticks: either Mira pays the money he stole back, or he must go to jail for five years.

As Público is explaining this morning, the deputy who worked under Carlos Tuta always denied falsifying documents to receive the money for himself – claiming it was a ruse organised to pay council workers for overtime.

But, throughout the trial, he was unable “to even present a list of the council workers” in question, while a search of bank accounts held by his wife and himself showed “various cash deposits to the value of €373,371 which were not declared to the IRS”.

Mira’s final debt is made up of €332,774.94 plus interest, adds Público.

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