Manuel Pinho giving evidence at a parliamentary hearing on the CMEC 'scandal' in the company of his lawyer, Ricardo Sá Fernandes

Police swoop on seven Lisbon apartments owned by former economy minister’s wife and sister

Manuel Pinho remains under house arrest in long-running EDP/ CMEC investigation

Following a ‘new exposé’ in tabloid Correio da Manhã on Monday, authorities have swooped this morning on seven apartments purportedly belonging to former economy minister Manuel Pinho*, who remains under house arrest in the long-running EDP/ CMEC investigation.

Today’s searches are connected to the investigation – led by the Public Ministry’s DCIAP (central department of investigation and penal action).

In a short statement, the department has said “these evidence gathering steps, overseen by the Public Ministry, were carried out by DCIAP’s multidisciplinary team, the SIATID (section for investigation, analysis and treatment of digital information), made up of elements from various criminal police entities”.

SIC television news is the outlet that pinpoints the ownership of the apartments to Manuel Pinho* who only recently lost a request for Habeas Corpus after five months under house arrest.

Manuel Pinho has been an ‘official suspect’ in this investigation since the summer of 2017. It was something of a shock (to him and his lawyer) that he was ‘arrested’ finally in 2021, held in preventive custody and ‘freed’ on a bail sum so gargantuan that he had no option but to take the choice of house arrest with electronic monitoring.

All through these months and before Mr Pinho has professed his innocence. He is suspected of corruption and money-laundering in a case that involves money from Grupo Espírito Santo.

The same case also cites former EDP top brass António Mexia and Manso Neto for “active corruption” and economic participation in business, and various other former ‘movers and shakers’, including the one-time head of BES/GES Ricardo Salgado.

Two days ago, Correio da Manhã ran a ‘new’ exposé suggesting Manuel Pinho and his wife Alexandra are suspected of having “made around €2 million disappear from Portugal” between 2011 and October 2021.

“A large part of the money will have been sent to bank accounts in Brazil, Switzerland, Germany and Spain, where the couple lived until the former minister was arrested last December”, said the paper – claiming: “The suspicion of dissipation of assets is one of the latest developments in this case” which has been grinding on for so many years that most people have forgotten what it is about.

*This has since been updated to read: ‘owned by former economy minister’s wife and sister’.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com