Sócrates now linked with Golden Visas

Sócrates now linked with Golden Visas

As former prime minister José Sócrates faces another day of questioning over allegations of fraud, money laundering and corruption on a gargantuan scale, newspapers were reporting that his name has now been linked with Operation Labyrinth, the investigation into corruption surrounding the issuing of Golden Visas.
Both Público and Correio da Manhã highlight the connection in their reports of the scandal that has rocked the nation, as citizens wake up to the fact that the leader who led the country to financial ruin may have been lining his pockets every step of the way.
The link appears to have been found by investigators trolling through phone taps of the various defendants rounded up in Labyrinth.
Jaime Couto Alves, described as one of the “most important defendants in the case” and still in police custody, is the businessman who ran an estate agency alongside the daughter of António Figueiredo – the former head of the notaries institute (IRN) (both Figueiredos are now key figures in the Labyrinth investigation, with Figueiredo senior also still in police custody).
According to CM, Alves is understood to have been caught in conversation with Sócrates, discussing the possible issuing of golden visas to Libyans.
Público makes much of Alves’ business connections. He is even said to be a former partner of lawyer and political commentator Luís Marques Mendes, who has a regular slot on SIC TV.
Mendes and Alves were partners in a firm called Gironnapp, “a firm in Fafe that commercialised disposable nappies”, writes Público.
The paper also highlights Alves’ connections with the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Octopharma – currently under intense scrutiny for having made millions of euros worth of business during Sócrates’ years in power.
As was widely publicised last year, Sócrates signed a lucrative business deal with Octopharma last January whereby he represents the company in Latin America for €12,000 per month.
As newspapers explained on Friday when the former Socialist leader was detained as he stepped off a plane from Paris, investigations into his personal ‘wealth’ began as a result of another financial probe “Monte Branco”, which involves a number of well-known figures, including Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Salgado, former head of BES.
It is very possibly because the web of intrigue has been discovered to be so vast that Sócrates’ interrogation at Campus de Justiça is now entering its third day.
By NATASHA DONN