Sócrates’ ex becomes latest arguida in Marquês corruption probe

Sofia Fava, the ex-wife of former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates, saw her status in the Operation Marquês inquiry into alleged multi-million euro corruption moved to “arguida” yesterday (Wednesday), as elsewhere Public Ministry investigators are trying to reel-in Algarve luxury resort kingpin Hélder Bataglia.

The developments, reported by official news agency Lusa and splashed over the front page of Correio da Manhã this morning, mean the number of official defendants in the long-running case have now reached 14.

With Vale do Lobo co-owner Hélder Bataglia reportedly due to join the list, the inference is that investigators are closing in on bringing all the threads of Marquês together.

Fava’s constitution as an “arguida” – formal suspect – follows on from the fact that prosecutors now appear to have proof to suspect her of qualified fiscal fraud and money-laundering.

Both Lusa and CM stress that her tax history shows that Fava has not had the kind of income that could “support” her costs – and “the majority of the income that she has declared” in the past “came from alleged payments for services rendered to companies owned by Santos Silva” – the lifelong friend of her husband’s who is also at the centre of the Marquês inquiry.

A source for the Attorney General’s office is reported as saying that Fava is now bound to remain in the area of her residence.

Meantime, the Public Ministry is reported to have sent a rogatory letter to Angola to constitute Angolan-Portuguese businessman Bataglia as the 15th arguido.

Up to now, it was understood that Bataglia had been willing to answer investigators’ questions but only on the basis that he would not be implicated in any criminal proceedings.

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