If it was not bad enough to be under house arrest suspected of being “the principal corruptor” of jailed former prime minister José Sócrates, former Lena administrator Joaquim Barroca is now in major hot water with Leiria Câmara after newspapers described the extraordinary luxury of his millionaire spread behind gates and high-walls on the EN113.
It now appears that much of the luxury was built without permission.
For instance, the covered swimming pool and tennis court do not appear on the last known “caderneta” (official property description) dated 2012, which put the value of the three-hectare Quinta de Santa Helena at €112,000.
The inference in the national press is that Barroca’s property is clearly worth a lot more.
While the site’s last “construction projects” date back to 1974, it is understood these days to sport a mini-zoo, a gymnasium, a children’s playground, a vineyard and a pavilion in which Barroca stores the “40 cars and motorbikes that are part of his collection”.
National media reports that “neighbours prefer to stay silent” over the tax authorities’ evaluation of the property, though some admit “there were injustices” in the process.
Needless to say, Leiria Câmara is now reported to be “on the case” and due to send officials in to see if there has been “any discrepancy between the characteristics of the property and the tax department valuation”.
Barroca meantime stays at home with CCTV equipment monitoring his movements. Elsewhere, developments in the labyrinthine contortions of Operation Marquês are moving on apace, with investigators searching the offices of a Lisbon lawyer connected to the Algarve’s prestige Vale do Lobo development.
By NATASHA DONN [email protected]
Photo: Detained: a picture taken in 2010 showing former prime minister José Sócrates (right) and former Lena Group administrator Joaquim Barroca
Photo by: PAULO CUNHA/LUSA