Corruption scandal continues

 In News

One of Portugal’s greatest political and economic corruption scandals, Operation Marques, continued to dominate the newspapers over the weekend as more nefarious links between three prime suspects were revealed.


The magazine Sábado in a cover story “Luxury and Secret Deals” spotlighted the luxury lifestyles of disgraced banker Ricardo Espírito Santo who oversaw the collapse of the banking group BES and is alleged to have sold plots of land in the resort of Cascais for €6 million. It also focuses on Zeinal Bava the former administrator of Portugal Telecom who paid €4 for two luxury apartments in Lisbon’s downtown Chiado area, and former prime minister José Sócrates who has mounted a €750,000 defence against accusations of capital laundering and tax evasion.

Operation Marquês is a legal case currently under investigation in Portugal which started in 2014. At the centre of the allegations are €23 million held in Switzerland by Carlos Santos Silva, a childhood friend of the former socialist prime minister, which was transferred to Portugal between 2004 and 2011.

At the time, the money was declared by Santos Silva for tax purposes under the Exceptional Tax Regimes I & II and the Public Ministry in Portugal believes, after following various trails, that the money actually belongs to José Sócrates.

By 2017 the corruption case involved 28 legal suspects, 19 individuals and nine companies including the ex-prime minister, the former administrator of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos bank, Armando Vara and the friend and businessman Carlos Santos Silva.

The Public Ministry believes suspects that José Sócrates received “backhanders” under the table in return for corrupt favouritism towards certain companies and entities while he was prime minister. Among those under investigation are Zeinal Bava and Henrique Grandeiro, former Portugal Telecom administrators, the lawyer Gonçalo Trindade Ferreira, the businessmen Diogo Gaspar Ferreira, Rui Mão de Ferro, Helder Bataglia, Joaquim Barroca Rodrigues, Vice-President of the construction group Lena,  

In October 2017 Sócrates was formally charged with 31 crimes of passive corruption while holding political office, money laundering and tax fraud. The investigation centres around the years 2006-2015.