Ex-economy minister in the dock over corruption charges

 In Corruption, Justice, News

Manuel Pinho, the former Minister of the Economy under the José Sócrates government (2005-2011) is to face trial over corruption charges.

The former PS minister will join ex-banker Ricardo Salgado (who once bragged he “owned the whole lot” (whether he meant the country or Banco Espírito Santo was never made clear) in court to face charges of money laundering and tax fraud over the EDP corruption case. (Caso EDP).
According to Negócios, Alexandra Pinho, the wife of the ex-minister, has also been charged for helping her husband to launder money and commit tax fraud.
Ricardo Salgado will answer for the crime of active corruption for an illicit act, a crime of active corruption, and another for capital laundering.
Pinho, reports the Portugal Resident, has been held under house arrest for the last 16 months — a situation due to have ended on Friday. But now that Judge Gabriela Assunção has decided that the case will go forwards “exactly under the terms of the accusation”, Pinho must remain confined to his home in Braga, at least for the time being.
SIC television news reporter Diogo Torres explained that the prosecutor’s case hinges on the fact that Manuel Pinho received a monthly payment of €15,000 from Ricardo Salgado, which prosecutors see as having been in return for Pinho acting as “a kind of agent infiltrated within the government”.
Judge Assunção has stressed that if defence counsel has extra evidence to bring to the case, they will all have ample time for this during the trial phase.
In other words, this pre-trial hearing was not a trial; it was a moment to analyse the case, and decide whether or not the prosecution’s thesis ‘has legs’ — which the judge believes it has.
The defendants have all denied all the crimes levelled against them, on multiple occasions.

Photo: Lusa – António Cotrim