Man was tied to a tree after having his bank account emptied
Portuguese and Spanish police authorities have arrested six people in Málaga (Spain) suspected of being involved in the August kidnapping of an 82-year-old man in Almancil, Algarve, who was then taken to Barcelona.
In a statement released by Portugal’s judicial police (PJ) – the country’s main criminal investigation agency – it is said that the victim, who was subjected to extortion, “suffered violent attacks and threats using firearms”, and had €100,000 transferred from his bank accounts to accounts opened by the suspects using false documentation.
The victim was then “tied to a tree in a remote location so that he wouldn’t be discovered and would collapse there,” PJ police say, adding that the victim was able to free himself and seek help.
The 82-year-old Portuguese man was kidnapped on August 25 and required hospital treatment in Spain due to the injuries he suffered at the hands of the six people arrested, who have a criminal record for crimes of theft in Spain. The statement does not say how long the man was held for.
The suspects, four men and two women aged between 21 and 43, were arrested during an operation that took place on December 13 in Spain, in the Málaga area, and which included members of the Portuguese judicial police.
From the outset, the investigation required constant sharing of police information between Portugal and Spain, says the PJ, which investigated the case together with the Catalan regional police (Mossos d’Esquadra) and the national police force (CNP).
The searches carried out resulted in the confiscation of a firearm and replica firearms used in the criminal activities, PJ police say in the statement, as well as “material intended for counterfeiting and falsifying identification documents, as well as false documentation.”
Two vehicles with Portuguese licence plates that had been stolen in Portugal were also recovered.
During the operation, several house searches were carried out which led to the arrest of the criminal sextet on suspicion of the offences of kidnapping, robbery with a firearm, criminal association and money laundering.
On December 17, investigations were carried out in Lisbon and other suspects were identified who were presumably involved in this criminal network.
Investigations are continuing with the aim of identifying other criminal offences related to the group under investigation, adds PJ.
The Faro investigation and penal action department (DIAP) is in charge of the enquiry, and the entities involved in this investigation are expected to provide additional clarifications to the media today in Barcelona.