Over a week after police and the public ministry alighted on the Algarve’s premier resort of Vale de Lobo, the complex remains still very much “in the eye of the authorities”, reports RTP. Indeed, days after they removed documents and other information from VdL’s administrative offices, public ministry officials mounted searches back in Lisbon on the offices of a lawyer “related to the touristic development”.
A statement from the Attorney General’s office has confirmed that the searches were “connected” to Operation Marquês – otherwise known as the “Sócrates investigation” into an alleged web of multi-million euro corruption all understood to lead back to former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates (currently held in Évora jail awaiting formal charges).
As Sócrates now approaches his sixth months behind bars, RTP reports that the VdL connection involves an agreement made in 2007 between Caixa Geral de Depósitos – the bank that purchased a 25% share (for €500 million) of the society that runs the resort – and Grupo Lena, the construction company already heavily implicated in Operation Marquês.
The agreement was for Grupo Lena to “undertake construction at the resort”, but five years later, the society “presented negative liquid results”, in other words losses, of over €64 million.
RTP adds that Grupo Lena’s former administrator Joaquim Barroca – currently under house arrest in Leiria (see separate story) – is suspected of being Sócrates “principal corrupting influence”.