In jail for six months, Operation Marquês defendant Carlos Santos Silva has at last been told he can be fitted with an electronic bracelet and serve the remainder of time waiting for police to wind up the corruption probe at his home in Lisbon. But co-defendant José Sócrates must stay behind bars. His freedom – even limited to house arrest – would still pose a risk to the investigation, say prosecutors.
Reporting over the weekend, national tabloid Correio da Manhã described how both Santos Silva and his lawyer were “overcome with emotion” when they heard the news.
Silva is understood to have “started crying in his cell”, while Paula Lourenço, who according to Diário de Notícias, suffers cardiac problems, had to be “assisted by INEM”.
Stressing that the former Socialist prime minister is now the only defendant behind bars, CM considered that he was “more and more isolated” as Operation Marquês continues apace.
As for Silva’s transfer to house arrest, CM stressed it has nothing to do with Silva in any way changing his story. It is simply that both the public prosecutor and “super-judge” Carlos Alexandre in charge of the inquiry have decided Silva’s release from jail is no longer likely to perturb the course of investigations, while “proof against the businessman” has now been fully collected.
“The more than €20 million that he had in his bank accounts has been apprehended,” writes CM. “While the arrest of his home in Paris has also been requested.”
Silva is expected to be released as soon as his home has been properly set up with CCTV cameras.
Silva is suspected of the crimes of money-laundering, qualified fiscal fraud and active corruption.
His release to house arrest is on the understanding that he does not talk to any of the other people involved in Operation Marquês – other than his wife Inês do Rosário who joined the list of defendants in April.