Manuel Pinho has been under house arrest since December 2021. Image: António Cotrim/ Lusa

Former economy minister under house arrests loses millionaire pension AGAIN

Manuel Pinho’s bank has already received instruction not to pay out €26,000 monthly instalment

The swings and roundabouts of a tortuous investigation that prosecutors insist has caused “astronomic losses” to the Portuguese State sees former economy minister Manuel Pinho once again lose the right to his millionaire pension (a sum reportedly of €26,000 per month).

According to reports this morning, public prosecutors “insist the money cannot end up in the hands of Manuel Pinho” – now approaching his 70th year, and under house arrest since December 2021.

Says SIC Notícias, “as far as SIC can confirm, the bank has already received the order to block the €26,000 monthly pension that the former minister receives”.

This is just the latest pension seizure. It has happened previously, with Mr Pinho winning back the right to the money. But now it has happened again – under the auspices of Judge Carlos Alexandre (very much Mr Pinho’s nemesis), and succeeded, according to SIC, by a seizure relating to “a different case”.

It is impossible to tell from SIC’s reports whether Mr Pinho had the luxury of his most recent pension release – which ordered that all the months lost were to be paid out too (a sum of around €400,000). But now, clearly, the gravy train has brought to a juddering halt once again.

SIC credits the decision to the refusal of public prosecutor Carlos Casimiro to ‘give up’. Following the ruling by the Appeals Court in May (to return the pension and various items confiscated during police searches of Mr Pinho’s home), Carlos Casimiro made a new request for asset seizures under the equally long-running CMEC investigation – which in spite running for well over a decade, has still not resulted in any formal charges.

The request fell during the judicial holidays, adds SIC, and thus did not pass under the nose of the judge in charge of the case, but under that of the judge on duty that day: Carlos Alexandre, by coincidence the same judge who has ‘seized’ Mr Pinho’s pension on two occasions in the past (and is being investigated over this by the Superior Council of Magistrates…)

Even more ‘remarkable’ is that this was one of the last decisions by Judge Alexandre before he quits his long-held role of judge at Lisbon’s central court of criminal instruction, and moves up a notch to the capital’s Court of Appeal (where Mr Pinho’s appeal against this new seizure, if one is lodged, would ultimately go).

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