PJ police director Luís Neves led the press conference this morning

Fugitive ‘bankster’ João Rendeiro captured in South Africa: Portugal’s PJ “played its part”

With “enormous pride” this morning, the director of Portugal’s PJ police force, Luís Neves, has announced that authorities in South Africa have captured fugitive ‘bankster’ João Rendeiro. 

Everything now will be done to ensure the former president of failed Banco Privado Português (BPP) – facing three prison terms for various forms of corruption – is extradited to Portugal to serve his time in jail.

Mr Neves went to lengths today to stress his force’s work is primarily “for the victims; for human rights” and for justice.

Portuguese people in general – and the victims of the BPP banking scandal in particular – can take some comfort from the fact that they can “count on” the PJ to get their man, however long it takes.

In this case, it has been relatively quick: João Rendeiro entered South Africa on September 18, and within three months, he has been neatly extracted from the life-style he has taken so much pains to construct.

As for the fugitive’s constant protestations that he has not been ‘fleeing Justice’, but instead seeking it (click here) Mr Neves described these as “pathetic”.

The former banker has “great economic capacity” which he has been using to the hilt to elude authorities, said the police chief – his message loud and clear: the PJ will be doing everything in its power to ensure Mr Rendeiro faces the consequences of his actions.

Indeed, the force appears to have laid all the necessary groundwork during a meeting with South African authorities last month where they outlined “the gravity of (Mr Rendeiro’s) crimes”, said Luís Neves.

The upshot was that South African counterparts came onboard “and said they would help us detain him, which happened today”.

The detention took place early this morning (7am South African time) at a location “far from Pretoria and Johannesburg”. The location has since been confirmed as the city of Durban.

Mr Neves described a lifestyle in South Africa in which João Rendeiro moved around frequently, but ‘very carefully’: spending “an exorbitant” amount of money on technology to try and ensure his whereabouts remained undetected.

Reading between the lines, the former banker had no idea authorities were so close to his capture.

He will now be ‘presented before a court’ within the next 48-hours “to hear his future”, said Mr Neves. It seems most likely that Mr Rendeiro will remain in preventive custody as Luís Neves was at pains to stress his otherwise “great economic capacity to flee”.

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