Key player in Face Oculta corruption scandal now faces paternity shock

Former Socialist minister and vice-president of BCP bank Armando Vara – condemned to five years imprisonment in the Face Oculta corruption scandal – was back in the dock this week. This time he is being sued by a man for expenses incurred looking after Vara’s unclaimed love-child.

The complicated story that involves two men who have both been cited for corruption came to court yesterday.

António Morais – described by Público as the teacher in four of the five subjects that gave José Sócrates his controversial engineering degree – is suing his ex-wife as well as Vara for €160,000.

This is the value of the expenses Morais claims he incurred over his supposed child – only to discover six years down the line that she was not his at all.

DNA testing confirmed the little girl was Vara’s.

As Público explained in another story of alleged corruption written in 2007, during his tenure as secretary of state for the ministry of internal administration Vara exerted influence over GEPI, the internal plans department run by Morais.

Morais’ architect wife became involved in a deal to build Vara a private home, and somewhere along the line, a child was conceived.

Morais was apparently suspicious from the start, asking two witnesses called to give evidence before the court whether they thought the child looked anything like him.

The issue came to a head years later when “a friend” spilled the beans to Morais who has since required the services of a psychiatric doctor, the court heard.

It is another case that promises to do nothing for the reputation of Armando Vara, still evading his five-year jail term for the trafficking of influences, alleging that he is innocent of all the charges on which he was found guilty in the high-profile Face Oculta trial.

In Portugal, depending on who you are, prison can be avoided by the lodging of an appeal.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]