‘Priest-in-a-Porsche aided by nun’ focus of Lisbon embezzlement trial

With trials for corruption and embezzlement seemingly Portugal’s “every day”, the latest case in the press focuses on a priest suspected of using State money to fund a millionaire lifestyle – and a nun who allegedly helped him milk the depths of human suffering with impunity.

The “fortunes” said to have been diverted by Father Arsénio Isidoro were destined for children and youth homes in Lisbon, explains Correio da Manhã, stressing at least one has been brought to the brink of financial ruin, with its 13 youngsters now “at risk of being separated”.

“Operation Veritas” began in 2014, adds Público. But it has taken all this time for police to amass evidence of the alleged “fraudulent management” of State funds – and throughout that time, Father Arsénio has remained ‘in business’, currently the parish priest of Torres Vedras.

Among allegations against him are that he bought a Porsche Panamera with embezzled funds, as well as a series 1 BMW.

PJ police saw “the signs of the exterior wealth” some time ago, say reports, but it took a swoop on a number of properties and institutions yesterday (Wednesday) to get the evidence investigators needed to make Father Arsénio and the nun formal defendants (arguidos).

Público claims it has since tried to speak to the priest and one of the institutions involved, without success.

But a statement released by the Parish of Lisbon yesterday afternoon guaranteed that it would be “cooperating integrally with the authorities”.

The statement stressed that it had only learnt via the press that “some canonic entities, in the area of its jurisdiction, were the target of searches by judicial authorities regarding a denouncement of less than correct practices and administrative acts by some of its representatives”.

For now, nothing has been said about what is happening to the Porsche or the BMW.

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