José Sócrates reacts in outrage to latest ‘news’ on his financial affairs
Former prime minister José Sócrates was suddenly ‘back in the news’ last night with an investigation, undertaken by SIC television, to suggest he had come under police scrutiny even after the marathon ‘Operation Marquês’, which has ground on for coming up for the best part of a decade.
The short segment broadcast during the evening news referred to “large monthly transfers” of €12,500 received by Mr Sócrates from 2020 “justified by a consultancy contract with Adélio Machado, a businessman and former rally driver” who has since gone bankrupt in France and Spain.
To be fair, it was a story that seemed to go nowhere: heavy on inference and nothing much else. But it was enough for Mr Sócrates to dash off an angry letter to the Attorney General, at the same time making the contents public.
The letter is to be considered “a formal complaint. A complaint against unknown people”.
Making it public is: “The only way of defending myself from the dirty war the Public Prosecutor’s Office has decided to wage against me since the start of the Marquês process ten years ago”, said the former Socialist prime minister.
“The Public Ministry appears to have lost all sense of decency”, his letter continues. “This time deciding to broadcast on SIC television a supposed investigation on my work contract with an international company… These methods, Madam Attorney General, are repugnant”.
And so the letter goes on, bringing in to the complaint State Bank CGD for its ‘calumnious denouncement’ of Mr Sõcrates’ financial affairs, for which he requests the opening of a criminal inquiry.
All in all it is another bizarre cameo in the long-running saga that began with Mr Sócrates being accused of 31 crimes of corruption, then saw them reduced to a small handful, and have since seen endless delays in procedure to the point that very few bystanders know anymore what is going on, and who is potentially accused of what.
Expresso this week blames ‘failings in government’ as the reason for Operation Marquês, with all its reams of documentation, being reduced to something of a soap opera. Justice minister Catarina Sarmento is quoted by the paper today suggesting the government “has been evaluating the opportunity of revisiting some solutions” (to get this case to a conclusion) which it means to move forwards with “as soon as possible”…