Former INEM boss arrested over Portugal’s “Blood mafia”

Luís Cunha Ribeiro, the former president of INEM, has been arrested this morning under suspicion of corruption in the case known as “blood mafia” (máfia do sangue).

Allegations centre on a cartel that has been controlling the supply of blood to Portuguese hospitals for 16 years.

Pharmaceutical company Octapharma – the same involved in a former business relationship with ex-prime minister José Sócrates – is heavily implicated in that Ribeiro lived for years in a property owned by Octopharma director Paulo Lalanda de Castro.

Ribeiro, whose former responsibilities included presidency of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo’s ARS health authority, is suspected of having taken bribes to clinch millions of euros worth of business for Octapharma in all Portuguese hospitals since the year 2000.

The deal, say initial reports, involved throwing out all the plasma donated by hundreds of thousands of Portuguese nationals, and substituting it with blood supplied by Octopharma.

This is an investigation that involves “lots of suspects”, reports CM TV, and has multiple links with other investigations ongoing.

Further revelations and arrests are expected throughout the day as PJ police continue to search homes and business premises in and around Lisbon.

[email protected]