It took months, but former minister for interior administration Miguel Macedo has finally been officially named as an “arguido” (suspect) in the convoluted Operation Labyrinth investigation into corruption and institutional collusion in the issuing of so-called “golden visas” to Portugal.
Macedo’s likely criminal charges had been intimated since last April (click here) but the PJ have only now reached the point where they were able to bite the bullet and add his name to the list of 11 former government workers and business people already under suspicion.
Allegations facing Macedo involve “prevarication of his political title” (loosely meaning, committing crimes while holding public office) and the trafficking of influences.
Macedo was finally made an arguido yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) after six hours of questioning at the Lisbon headquarters of DCIAP (the central department of criminal investigation).
According to press reports, he was “confronted” with telephone wire taps and documents that show he was a “central piece in the network of golden visas led by former president of the notaries institute António Figueiredo, who is still in preventive custody, and businessman Jaime Gomes”.
Carrying an exclusive this morning, Correio da Manhã claims Macedo “had to explain presents that he had received from a Chinese citizen, a candidate for a golden visa, who is also an official suspect in the case” as well as work behind the scenes that he is believed to have done with government colleague Paulo Núncio (still secretary of state for fiscal affairs).
The “work” involved “resolving a €1 million tax issue for the firm Intelligent Life Solutions, owned by the head of pharmaceutical multinational Octopharma Lalanda e Castro, writes CM – the same Lalanda e Castro who employed former prime minister José Sócrates, now facing a separate investigation into corruption and money-laundering on an apparently gigantic scale.
“Macedo was also confronted with wire taps that show his great involvement with António Luís Figueiredo in facts that indicate the crimes of prevarication of his political title and the trafficking of influences”, CM concludes, adding that for now, Lalanda e Castro is not an “arguido” but that Paulo Núncio has been interviewed as a witness.
Macedo, who resigned days after the golden visa scandal broke in February, has always intimated that he had nothing whatsoever to do with any of it.