Portugal’s chief legal representative has refused to give guarantees that the Freeport Case involving backhanders, bribery and corruption will be solved before the general election in October.
Breaking silence in an exclusive interview with weekend paper Expresso, Fernando José Pinto Monteiro said there were two factors in the speed of a process that a Procurator-General could not control: the careful study of bank account transactions and ‘cartas rogatorias’ (a legal instrument of cooperation between two countries) which could take up to two years.
On the issue of Prime Minister José Socrates being called to face questions, Pinto Fernando José Pinto Monteiro said José Socrates as a citizen would be called “when and if the investigators think necessary” and added that he hadn’t “seen the lawsuit”.
On the question of the DVD recording of interviews which allegedly prove the payment of backhanders in return for the fast-track planning permission for Europe’s largest factory outlet shopping retail park, the public prosecutor said that the DVD could not “be used in evidence as proof” because of a Portuguese law that didn’t “allow that”.
“When talking about Freeport I can say that this is an exhaustive investigation, the likes of which has rarely been seen before in Portugal, one which is leaving no stone unturned and I am convinced that the conclusions that the investigating magistrates reach will correspond to what actually happened,” he said.
“They (the investigative magistrates) are doing all that is possible: hearing people’s evidence, examining all the bank accounts and all the documents, nothing is being left out,” he assured.