Bonum Certa Men Certa

Battistelli's Club Med at the EPO – Part VI: “When Corruption Rules” in Portugal - Operation Marquês

Also see: Immunity of the Intellectual Property Office of the European Union Causes Outrage in Spanish Media

Trindade and Campinos



Summary: José Sócrates and his luxury lifestyle in Paris, one of many Portuguese scandals which may unfold further action next month

Today we continue our series that explores possible connections between Battistelli's "validation agreements", corruption in Angolan & Portuguese political affairs, and the ongoing efforts to parachute in Campinos as the head of the EPO with the assistance of Battistelli's "Club Med".



In part 1 and part 2 we focused a little more on the EPO, part 3 and part 4 looked at Angola, and part 5 looked at Portugal and its former colonies, primarily the corruption there. Today we focus on Portugal.




It would be unfair to blame all of Portugal's current problems with corruption on the baneful influence of the nouveaux riche post-colonial ruling elite of its former colony. Portuguese politicians are no strangers to scandal in their own right and have managed to make headlines in this regard without any outside assistance.

"Portuguese politicians are no strangers to scandal in their own right and have managed to make headlines in this regard without any outside assistance."As one commentator put it in an article with the headline "Portugal: When corruption rules": "Cases of corruption emerge constantly, even in the so-called most developed and democratic of countries. Politicians embezzling money is nothing new, and Portugal is no exception. The difference is that in this country, those cases are following one another constantly, and the crisis is only making the situation worse. Irregularities can be found everywhere, even on some politicians’ résumés – as for example the former Portuguese Prime Minister Miguel Relvas, who obtained his degree illegally."

Relvas, who was actually Deputy Prime Minister and a senior member of Pedro Passos Coelho's government, resigned in disgrace in 2013 following a controversy about alleged irregularities in the degree he obtained from a private university (Universidade Lusófona).

"Relvas, who was actually Deputy Prime Minister and a senior member of Pedro Passos Coelho's government, resigned in disgrace in 2013 following a controversy about alleged irregularities in the degree he obtained from a private university (Universidade Lusófona)."The Ministry of Education referred the matter to the Portugal's Public Attorney's Office which led to the revocation of Relvas' degree by court decision in June 2016.

The affair surrounding Relvas' degree is "peanuts" compared to the revelations emerging from "Operation Marquis" (a.k.a. "Operation Marquês" in Portuguese) which started off with an investigation into allegations of corruption against José Sócrates who was the Prime Minister of Portugal from 12 March 2005 to 21 June 2011.

In November 2014 Sócrates was arrested on suspicions of corruption and money-laundering after his luxury lifestyle abroad had come under investigation. It seems that after he departed from political life in Portugal in 2011, he lived the life of a millionaire in Paris with no visible source of serious income.

"In November 2014 Sócrates was arrested on suspicions of corruption and money-laundering after his luxury lifestyle abroad had come under investigation."Initial investigations led to the discovery that a close friend was holding millions of euros for his benefit. Sócrates claimed that he merely borrowed from his friend, but there are no records of the amounts loaned. The funds were apparently used to finance his luxury lifestyle in Paris.

The subsequent investigations under "Operation Marquis" have led to the exposure of a whole network of corruption alleged to involve as much as € 22 million meticulously ‘laundered’ through sophisticated cloaking and masking mechanisms using intermediaries and offshore companies to conceal the final recipient (purportedly Sócrates).

Since the arrest of Sócrates in 2014 the list of defendants has grown to include his former wife, Sofia Fava; a former Director of Caixa Geral de Depósitos and former socialist minister, Armando Vara; his daughter Bárbara Vara; Luso-Angolan businessman, Hélder Bataglia, Carlos Santos Silva, the businessman and friend of the former Prime Minister; Joaquim Barroca of the Lena Group; João Perna, Sócrates’ former chauffeur; Paulo Lalanda de Castro from Octapharma; Henrique Granadeiro and Zeinal Bava, former directors of PT, Inês do Rosário who is Carlos Santos Silva’s mother; the lawyer Gonçalo Trindade Ferreira and the businessmen Diogo Gaspar Ferreira and Rui Mão de Ferro.

"The funds were apparently used to finance his luxury lifestyle in Paris."One of the money trails reportedly led to a safety deposit box in a Swiss bank and this has caused some delay in the investigation as legal assistance had to be requested from the Swiss authorities. According to the latest press reports from Portugal the Attorney General's Office in Lisbon has set a deadline of 20 November 2017 for the conclusion of the Operation Marquis investigation.

It will be interesting to see what further revelations emerge in this affair when the final indictment against Sócrates and his co-defendants is submitted by the public prosecutor and the proceedings are opened which is expected to happen towards the end of this year.

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