Superjudge Carlos Alexandre is reported to be calling for another three months of “internal secrecy” in the case of Operation Marquês – the investigation that has seen ex-prime minister José Sócrates remanded in jail suspected of various counts of corruption and money-laundering since November last year. National media reports that Alexandre’s objective is to “protect the investigation” and give police time to assemble their case.
Carrying an exclusive on the story today, national tabloid Correio da Manhã says the complexity of the case has allowed for a year to be set aside for investigations.
Sócrates and fellow defendant millionaire businessman Carlos Santos Silva have both been in custody without formal charges for the last five months.
CM writes that superjudge Alexandre and his team therefore have “another seven months to conclude the inquiry and make accusations”.
This far Sócrates is cited on varying counts of fraud and money-laundering.
Alexandre’s extension of internal security means that both Sócrates and Santos Silva’s lawyers are denied access to “processual diligences”.
In other words, they and their defendants are not being told exactly where police are investigating.
According to CM, both Sócrates and Santos Silva have repeatedly asked for access to the ongoing investigation.
What is “fundamental”, CM explains, is the origin of €20 million that were found in a Swiss bank account, in the name of Santos Silva.
The public ministry is aware it could belong to both men, but it is “trying to determine” what share belonged to each.
Also important is to establish the origin of “transfers of money out of the country”, writes CM.
Much of it is understood to have come from Grupo Lena, the company formerly overseen by Santos Silva, and for this reason “it is possible other administrators from the group may be made official suspects”.
For now, all the defence bids to gain access to the investigation have been blocked.