Outspoken Euro MP Marinho e Pinto has found himself embroiled in yet another high-profile drama – this time involving members of his own PDR party whom police believe were involved in the acid-bath murder of a Braga businessman.
According to Sol newspaper, four members of Marinho e Pinto’s PDR party are facing a litany of charges as a result of Operation Fireball – a PJ investigation into the snatching of João Paulo Fernandes from a residential street in Lamaçães two months ago (click here).
Three of the men are brothers Pedro, Adolfo and Manuel Bourbon – the sons of a long-term friend of Marinho e Pinto.
Indeed Pedro was “one of the reasons” for the rift that caused Marinho e Pinto to break from the party he was elected to represent in Brussels – MPT Partido da Terra.
MPT’s current leader José Inácio Faria has explained that Marinho e Pinto actually wanted Bourbon to be accepted as vice-leader of the party.
Events since March have proved that MPT’s rejection of the idea was “correct”, Faria told Sol over the weekend, while Marinho e Pinto has been talking about the arrests of the Bourbon brothers as the “last thing” he expected.
His party – which failed miserably to win any seats in last October’s elections – has suspended all involved in the investigation pro-tem, and if found guilty of the various charges against them, they will clearly not be reinstated, the former law association boss has told reporters.
Indeed, he will personally thank police “for relieving the party of people who commit these type of crimes”, he said.
The PDR party “has nothing to do with this”, Marinho de Pinto affirmed, “just as the PS had nothing to do with José Sócrates, nor the PSD with the case of Duarte Lima. These are things about people and if they are true, only the people involved will have to take responsibility”, he told Sol.
The horror of the case has been filling tabloid news pages for the last week and seems set to continue though no trace of a body has been found.
For now, it appears that the Bourbon brothers and accomplices were all determined to ‘silence’ Fernandes, who was attempting to wrestle back over €2 million in property that his family had allegedly put in lawyer Pedro Bourbon’s ‘safekeeping’, to avoid seizure by the taxman.
The story is understood to be rooted in the collapse of the Fernandes’ former business empire.
Sol suggests that Marinho e Pinto was responsible for hiring Pedro Bourbon’s lawyer, Rodrigo Santiago, who has since unsuccessfully appealed against his client’s detention.
The police case is backed by surveillance records and much circumstantial evidence, explains Correio da Manhã, which suggests that Fernandes was killed in one of the Mercedes involved in his kidnapping, and his body later dissolved in sulphuric acid in a garage in Gondomar.
CM has stressed all along that immersion in acid can never fully destroy body parts and that any remains may have been scattered in scrubland “somewhere along the Valongo hillsides”.
The PJ investigation is still ongoing, adds the paper, while the Bourbon brothers, a key accomplice known as the Warlock of Areosa and three others face crimes of murder, kidnap, profanity of a corpse, falsification of documents and arson.
Marinho e Pinto meantime is (in)famous for turning his back on the party that elected him as a Euro MP, declaring Brussels to be a sham, but continuing to hold his position as a highly-paid MEP as he has explained he is “a poor man”.
Last summer MPT leader Faria lambasted the refusal by the national elections committee to annul Marinho e Pinto’s position as a Euro MP, saying his continued tenure (now as an independent) was “abusive and illegal”.
Photo: Marinho e Pinto says his PDR party has nothing to do with the case, “just as the PS had nothing to do with José Sócrates”
Photo by: CARLOS SANTOS/LUSA