After the media flurry on the arrest of a Portuguese secret service apparently ‘caught red handed’ selling NATO secrets to the Russians in Rome, the man’s lawyer has told Lusa it is all “complete nonsense” and “an absolute fiction”.
With SIS agent Frederico Carvalho Gil now on Portuguese soil – following extradition from Italy on Sunday – lawyer José Preto has told Lusa that he has seen the 11 pages of evidence against his client, and they invoke “a series of irregularities”.
“It is all completely illegal”, he adds.
According to investigators, Gil is suspected of having sold sensitive information to Russian counterparts for at least the last five years.
Reports in the Portuguese media point to payments of €10,000 per document.
Gil is said to be facing charges of espionage, violation of State secrets, corruption and money-laundering.
But, says Preto, there was never any exchange of envelopes in Rome, though there was a payment – for which Gil “passed a receipt”.
The payment had nothing to do with any of the crimes set against his client, Preto stressed, adding that his client will most certainly be pleading not guilty, as the whole case against him is “an aberration”.
Piling yet more criticism on the workings of European Arrest Warrants – saying Gil’s was an “absolute mess” – Preto said it was just a great pity that Gil had not had access to adequate legal support in Italy, as there were good reasons to oppose his extradition.
Preto will now be setting about to see his client freed, as he told reporters that his client has been detained now for over two weeks without having been heard by a judge.
The case is an “absolute violation of all national and international rules of law”, he added.
Preto has also criticised SIC television for having filmed Gil’s arrival in Portugal under police guard – saying if the authorities really have proof that his client sold NATO secrets, they should publish the evidence of his having been ‘caught in flagrante’.
As Preto lets rip now through Facebook, the nation’s newspapers are following his every word.