Marquês’ defendant Armando Vara freed from house arrest

One of nine official “arguidos” in Operation Marquês – the investigation into fraud and corruption that has seen former prime minister José Sócrates incarcerated since last November – has been released from house arrest.

Armando Vara is one of four arguidos who have been sitting out the investigation under house arrest, wearing an electronic bracelet.

Still confined to their homes this way are Sócrates’ long-time friend Carlos Santos Silva and construction company boss Joaquim Barroca.

Sócrates too remains under house arrest, but not on the condition of wearing an electronic bracelet.

Vara – also appealing a five-year jail term for the trafficking of influences under the investigation known as Face Oculta – has had to lodge €300,000 to substitute his electronic surveillance, writes national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

He is also prohibited from talking to José Sócrates, and must remain in the country.

If either of these conditions is broken, CM explains, Vara faces a return to house arrest and will lose the €300,000.

He has 10 days to raise the money, and can do so by taking out a mortgage on a property, explains the paper.

CM has repeatedly stressed that Vara is understood to be under suspicion of having received a €1 million for his part in the decision by state bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) to loan millions to the owners of Vale do Lobo resort (see Vale do Lobo now a “key link” in Operation Marquês corruption investigation).

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