Digital marketing, communications and publicity companies boss investigated in corruption probe

 In Companies, Corruption, News, Police probes

Portugal’s Judicial Police (PJ) have swooped on communication and marketing companies owned by entrepreneur Luís Bernardo over suspicions of corruption and abuse of power.

Some 34 search warrants were issued with the police investigating suspicions of dealings favouring his companies in the communications, publicity, digital marketing and political marketing sector, which include Wonderlevel Partners, Sentinelcriterion, First Five Consulting, João Tocha Global and Remarkable.

According to CNN Portugal and Expresso, the search and seize operation involved 10 house searches and 13 non-house searches at Public entities, and 11 searches at companies in Lisbon, Oeiras, Mafra, Amadora, Alcácer do Sal, Seixal, Ourique, Portalegre, Sintra and Sesimbra.

According to the investigation led by the Portuguese criminal investigation department DCIAP, the inquiry encompasses alleged crimes of active and passive corruption, prevarication, economic participation in business, abuse of powers (holders of political posts) and overall abuse of power.

The suspicions are that the entrepreneur’s companies received favourable treatment from various public entities and that the companies were awarded contracts directly without being put out to tender or by prior consultation in clear violation of the competition rules that apply to public contracting to the detriment of the public interest.

150 PJ police, inspectors and specialists and eight Public Ministry magistrates are involved in the investigation. Luís Bernardo had been an advisor for ex-Prime Minister José Sócrates, himself involved in various Public Ministry investigations into corruption over the past 12 years such as Operation Marques.