Presidential aide raises suspicions in Belémgate

Suspicions that Portuguese President Cavaco Silva was having his telephone conversations intercepted by the secret services on the orders of the Prime Minister’s office have been raised by a key presidential aide.

A detailed e-mail, citing fears from Fernando Lima and allegedly written by Público journalist Luciano Alvarez, was published on the front pages of the daily newspaper Díario de Notícias on September 18.

Fernando Lima left his post as the President’s Press Aide on Monday, after media coverage and the e-mail being slammed as a forgery by Luciano Alvarez, the supposed author.  Fernando Lima had been in the post since 2006.

The alleged e-mail, which states “the President of the Republic believes that the Office of the Prime Minister is spying….(on him)”, comes in the lead-up to the General Election which takes place on Sunday.

“I will have this conversation via e-mail and not by telephone because the situation is so serious that it is better not to run the risk of being listened in to. As you will see further on (in the e-mail) neither of the President’s men are risking talking to him (the President) on the phone,” the e-mail continues.

In a meeting, which allegedly occurred in April 2008, at a “discreet café” in Lisbon’s Avenida de Roma, Fernando Lima handed over a dossier to Público journalist Luciano Alvarez, about a certain Rui Paulo de Figueiredo, a judicial adjutant to José Sócrates, whose behaviour has “raised suspicions” over a visit Cavaco Silva made to Madeira.

Lima was convinced that Sócrates’ aide formed part of a committee set up “to observe, from as far within as possible”, the movements of the President’s visit and the internal set-up of the President’s office, and way the President’s staff operated.

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