Marquês “now touching on right-wing government of Passos”

More and more ‘big names’ appear to be being reeled in by investigators as they conclude the mammoth Marquês investigation into alleged institutional corruption.

Correio de Manhã – the ‘bête noir’ of Marquês chief suspect former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates – claims today that Sérgio Monteiro, ex-PSD secretary of state for Public Works under the government of Passos Coelho, is also being investigated.

This is the day Monteiro should be celebrating: he is the man who was charged with the job of finding a buyer for Novo Banco. He did it – despite the fact that it may yet cost taxpayers dearly (click here).

But no sooner had he delivered the ‘good bank’ into the hands of what the financial world calls a vulture fund, than national media has started filling up with stories about his potential involvement in a spin-off from Marquês.

Says CM the Public Ministry “is talking corruption, prevarication and economic participation in business”.

Monteiro meantime has told the paper that he is “tranquil” and ready to explain everything to judicial authorities.

He has “not yet been made an arguido (official suspect)”, stresses CM.

Observador started this story last night, suggesting the issue centres on TGV – the plans for a high speed rail link between Lisbon and Madrid that cost the government millions of euros, without a centimetre of track ever being built.

TGV was officially scrapped in March 2012, with ELOS, the company that won the contract for it winning a €149 million indemnity

At the time, Monteiro was at his post at the Public Works department, but only the year before he had been a director at Caixa Banco Investimento (one of the financial branches of the ELOS).

According to Observador, investigators are probing “alleged benefits” that may have seen ELOS “favoured” in the adjudication of indemnities.

To give a bit of background, ELOS was led by Brisa and associated to construction group Lena – one of the 28 Marquês arguidos.

Observador presents this latest development as Monteiro being “in the eye of the hurricane” of one of 15 “certidões” (attestations”) that have developed from Marquês.

Another high-profile figure who may not be in the eye, but more in the tail of the hurricane, is well-connected businessman Miguel Pais do Amaral – a former bidder for ownership of TAP.

According to Observador, Pais do Amaral is under suspicion for being involved in a money-circulating scheme that allegedly kept €2 million from being subject to any form of tax.

These are complex spin-off investigations that are now gaining traction.

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Image: Miguel A. Lopes/ Lusa