Judgement today in almost eight-year-long BPN trial

It has been so long in coming that many people will have already forgotten what exactly the BPN trial is about – other than the fact that it was the pioneer of Portugal’s contemporary ‘banking scandals’ that have cost the Portuguese taxpayer billions.

Indeed, the intrigue has cost the Portuguese public around €7 billion so far – and there will be more where that came from.

In the intervening years, in which the 14 ‘arguidos’ have all continued living pretty much unaffected by what they did, now face ‘paying for it’ with sentences ranging from two years to 13-16.

The ‘top sentence’ is being asked for the now 80-year-old former BPN president José Oliveira e Costa, who was not even in court yesterday to hear the term that the Public Ministry is hoping for.

Found guilty of qualified fraud, abuse of confidence, money-laundering, qualified fiscal fraud and ‘infidelity’, his current state of health may see him side-stepping any time in jail anyway.

As political activist John Rosas Baker (formerly leader of the Earth Party) has commented on Facebook: “Bernie Madoff, who robbed 65,000 million dollars in the greatest Ponzi scheme in history was judged in eight months, and condemned to 150 years in prison”.

The fact that it has taken almost eight years to come to this shows Portugal’s justice system “is clearly rotten”, he concludes.

As one of the resulting comments adds “there are still other cases waiting for years, with appeal after appeal… just waiting for time limits to see them all thrown out”.

The final judgement and list of condemnations is expected later today.

[email protected]