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Sócrates’ vows: “I will sue the State for unqualified abuse”

Paving the way towards typical ‘summer silly season’ stories, former prime minister José Sócrates has held a press conference almost two years since his ignominious jailing in Évora to say that whatever happens, he is ready to sue the State for what he calls “unqualified abuse”.

Twenty-one months on from his citing in Operation Marquês for crimes of qualified fiscal fraud, money-laundering and corruption, there are still no charges against him, and it is quite clear the one-time leader of the Socialist Party is fuming.

But what brought on the press conference is what has infuriated him even further.

DCIAP (department of criminal instruction and penal action) boss Amadeu Guerra admitted that legal limits for Sócrates’ eventual prosecution could be stretched beyond the September extension he set four months ago (click here).

“Let’s see…” is what he answered to questions by SIC as to whether Marquês’ investigators would be ready to file charges.

“Let’s see!” Sócrates’ told the conference. “As if the State could treat an individual any way it likes. (The State) does not have this right,” he stressed.

“The only thing I beseech Portuguese justice and the director of DCIAP is to respect the law and the State of Law.

“I want to remind the prosecutor who heads up DCIAP that penal action in this country should comply with the Law.

“This inquiry ended on October 19, 2015, without accusation.

“The prolonging of this inquiry, without legal basis, confirms that it does not mean to investigate a crime, but to pursue a political target.”

Here, the furious former political leader repeated his allegations that Operation Marquês and all the adverse publicity linking him to myriad financial scandals was orchestrated to “stop him putting himself forward as a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic”.

Marquês is thus “despicable”, and all the insinuations over “Parque Escolar, PPPs, TGV, Algeria, Venezuela, Vale do Lobo and now Portugal Telecom” are “unjust and absurd”.

Adding new political perspective to the rhetoric, Sócrates referred to banners demanding “Hillary for Prison” at rallies in the current race for the White House.

“The way to attack adversaries these days is to demand their imprisonment,” he said.

“What I am doing here is denouncing what is happening. Whether or not there is an accusation, I will say one thing: I will sue the State because the State has shown unqualified abuse.”

But Amadeu Guerra has confirmed that there is nothing that prosecutors would like more than to get to the end of Marquês investigations, which at last count listed 14 people as “arguidos” (official suspects) and has been responsible for more leaks in the press than stars in the summer skies.

He told SIC that while the September 15 date may not be set in stone, his department is working towards it, will work during the official court holidays if necessary, and “there is still time”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com