Flying in the face of a judicial order, former prime minister José Sócrates has been ‘caught’ having dinner with his principal co-defendant in the long-running Marquês corruption investigation.
According to national tabloid Correio da Manhã, two separate sources have confirmed last week’s meeting – absolutely prohibited under the bail terms set by the Public Ministry.
It is understood to have taken place in a discreet restaurant “well hidden” from the centre of Lisbon, with Carlos Santos Silva – the businessman jailed with Sócrates in 2014 and suspected of having moved and safeguarded as many as 23 million euros for his friend.
There was a third party also at the dinner, claims CM – giving no details as to the person’s identity.
The rendezvous, at Solar dos Leitões, in a side street near Benfica, will cause new headaches in this ongoing story as investigators have insisted that none of Marquês’ 12 defendants should be given the chance to confer with each other before formal charges are brought against them.
Marquês began in 2013 and has been given until September 15 this year to conclude (click here), though CM claims the deadline may well be extended.
Meantime, Sócrates and his defence team are highly critical of the process, saying all deadlines for charges have long past and the case should be consigned to the scrapheap.
CM reports that it has tried to get in touch with Sócrates lawyers, to discuss the prohibited dinner last week, “without success”.
But since the story hit the streets, both men have come out with all guns blazing – denouncing CM’s story as “false and a nonsense”.
“Since he has been at liberty, Sr Eng. José Sócrates has never dined at this restaurant, nor has he dined with his friend, Engineer Carlos Santos Silva”, says a statement from João Araújo and Pedro Delille , stressing CM’s story “simply confirms the campaign of hate and personal persecution” mounted against their client.
CM’s “disrespect for truth and lack of respect for its readers” sees Sócrates’ defence team affirming that it is lodging another criminal complaint against the national tabloid – only recently released from an embargo on all stories relating to Marquês.