Socrates arrested: alleged corruption

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Carana
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Socrates arrested: alleged corruption

Post by Carana » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:45 am

Never a dull day...


Portuguese ex-PM Socrates held in fraud inquiry: official
Saturday, 22 November 2014 10:55
Posted by Parvez Jabri

imageLISBON: Portugal's former Socialist prime minister Jose Socrates was arrested Friday as part of an inquiry into tax fraud, corruption and money laundering, the public prosecutor's office announced.

Socrates is one of four people who have been held in recent days, three of whom appeared before a judge on Friday, the prosecutor said in a statement.

More than 60 police, customs officers and justice officials carried out raids at several unspecified locations ahead of the arrests.

Socrates, 57, was arrested in the afternoon as he arrived at Lisbon airport and will appear in court on Saturday, Portuguese media said.

The investigation centres on bank operations and money transfers from an unknown source, the prosecutor's office said.

But it made clear that the case under which Socrates was held is not linked to the arrest in July of Ricardo Saldago, former head of stricken Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo (BES).

The news of his arrest comes hard on the heels of another scandal which cost Portugal's Interior Minister Miguel Macedo his job on Sunday.

Macedo resigned after several senior government officials were arrested as part of a probe into money laundering and influence-peddling around so-called "golden visas".

Under the "golden visa" scheme, foreign investors buying property worth 500,000 euros ($620,000) or more and keeping it for at least five years receive residency rights in Portugal and, more importantly, visa-free travel throughout the European Union's Schengen zone.

Portugal rolled out the programme in 2012 while grappling with a debt crisis.

Macedo, 55, who had been in the job since 2011, said he "had no personal responsibility" in the case but his "political authority" had been weakened by the scandal.

Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas said Thursday it would be a mistake to stop offering wealthy foreign investors the "golden visas".

Socialist Socrates, who has described himself as a "ferocious animal" when it comes to campaigning, resigned in 2011 after the parliamentary opposition, led by the Social Democrats, rejected his minority government's fourth austerity package in just under a year.

Two weeks later Portugal was forced to request a bailout package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund because of its inability to meet its refinancing obligations, a move Socrates had resisted for months.

The arrest of the former Socialist leader comes at a bad time for Lisbon mayor Antonio Costa, set to be named Saturday as the main opposition party's secretary general following a ballot in which he was the only candidate.

Socrates led the Socialists to their first majority in parliament in 2005 just a year after he was elected leader of the party.

The former premier faced several other controversies which tarnished his image during his six years in power.

He has faced repeated questions over clearance he gave for the construction of a shopping mall on protected land near Lisbon when he was environment minister, just days before a 2002 general election in which the Socialists lost power.

An investigation into the so-called "Freeport" case, named after the shopping mall, was finally shelved in July 2010.

There have been questions, too, over the authenticity of his university degree.

After he left office Socrates studied at the institute of policy studies in Paris before returning to Portugal to start a new career as a commentator on RTP public television.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014
http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/1-fro ... icial.html
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catkins
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Re: Socrates arrested: alleged corruption

Post by catkins » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:51 am

:rolleyes: Why does corruption news relating to Portugal not surprise me anymore......so sad..
Madeleine McCann- Abducted May 2007 from Praia Da Luz, Algarve, Portugal.
DCI Redwood of Scotland Yard - stated that Madeleine could still be found - alive.
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Carana
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Re: Socrates arrested: alleged corruption

Post by Carana » Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:02 pm

catkins wrote: :rolleyes: Why does corruption news relating to Portugal not surprise me anymore......so sad..
It exists everywhere, not just PT. MPs fiddling their expenses, for one.
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Re: Socrates arrested: alleged corruption

Post by Truthiness2 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:59 pm

Carana wrote:
catkins wrote: :rolleyes: Why does corruption news relating to Portugal not surprise me anymore......so sad..
It exists everywhere, not just PT. MPs fiddling their expenses, for one.
It does, Carana, but that up there ^^^^ appears to go way beyond fiddling expenses.
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catkins
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Re: Socrates arrested: alleged corruption

Post by catkins » Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:12 pm

Carana wrote:
catkins wrote: :rolleyes: Why does corruption news relating to Portugal not surprise me anymore......so sad..
It exists everywhere, not just PT. MPs fiddling their expenses, for one.
True....but over there is one corruption tale after another so it seems.....How much higher than an ex PM can you get?
Madeleine McCann- Abducted May 2007 from Praia Da Luz, Algarve, Portugal.
DCI Redwood of Scotland Yard - stated that Madeleine could still be found - alive.
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Carana
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Re: Socrates arrested: alleged corruption

Post by Carana » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:25 pm

A bit more on the Golden Visa saga:

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Portugal's golden visas
All that glitters
Nov 17th 2014, 16:12 by P.W. | LISBON

Miguel Macedo, Portugal's interior minister, announcing his resignation

AMONG the growing number of hard-up European governments offering residence permits to wealthy non-Europeans who invest in their countries, Portugal has been the most successful. In return for real-estate purchases and other investments totalling more than €1 billion ($1.25 billion), Portuguese authorities have issued 1,775 so-called “golden visas” over the past two years, 81% of them to Chinese nationals. But success turned to scandal on November 13th, when police made 60 raids across the country, detaining 11 people in a crackdown on suspected corruption by officials administering the scheme. Among those held were the head of Portugal’s border agency and the president of the country's registration and notary institute. Three days later, Miguel Macedo (pictured), the interior minister in the centre-right government, resigned.

The investigation in Portugal, codenamed “Operation Labyrinth”, could have wider ramifications across Europe, where cash-strapped governments from Greece and Spain to Latvia and Hungary run similar schemes. Besides casting suspicion on golden visas as a potential source of corruption, the detention of top immigration and border control officials raises the possibility of a serious breach in security: Portugal is one of the 26 EU countries that make up the Schengen “open borders” area.

Like other countries that have introduced golden visa programmes, Portugal hoped to offset the sharp drop in investment caused by the financial and euro crises. Spending a minimum of €500,000 on a property entitles non-European families to live in the country and travel in the Schengen area for five years, after which they can apply for permanent residence. Paulo Portas, deputy prime minister and the chief advocate of the Portuguese scheme, credits the scheme with reviving a moribund real estate market and creating the potential for knock-on investments by the entrepreneurs they attract.

But the concept of trading residence permits for cash, albeit in the form of investment, has been under attack from the outset. Ana Gomes, a Portuguese Socialist member of the European parliament, condemns golden visas as “selling nationality by instalments”. With poor immigrants risking their lives daily to enter Europe, she wonders whether it is morally justifiable to give the well-off unequal treatment. Even as an investigating magistrate questions the 11 detainees, who include three Chinese citizens, left-wing opponents are calling for the scheme to be scrapped altogether.

Police are understood to believe that some properties registered as having been bought for €500,000 for the purposes of obtaining a golden visa may in reality have been purchased for considerably less, the difference being used for illegal payoffs. Police said those detained were suspected of crimes including corruption, money-laundering, influence-peddling and embezzlement. In a curious twist, Portugal’s security services also revealed that they had previously swept the office of the detained head of the registration institute for listening devices, at his own request.

No government members are suspected of any involvement, the attorney general’s office said in a statement. But the case is nevertheless a deep embarrassment for Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, whose government had trumpeted the golden visas as a resounding success. The scheme has now cost him a key minister less than a year before a general election, while Mr Portas has agreed to be questioned on the issue by a parliamentary committee. The investigation comes only months after the collapse of the Espírito Santo business empire in one of Europe’s biggest financial failures for years. Both cases are likely to prove severe tests of Portugal's slow-moving justice system. Meanwhile, Portugal had just managed in May to exit the four-year, €78 billion bailout programme it accepted from the EU and the International Monetary Fund during the euro crisis. As the golden visa investigation shows, the aftershocks of that crisis are far from over.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlema ... lden-visas
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Carana
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Re: Socrates arrested: alleged corruption

Post by Carana » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:56 pm

Portugal Minister steps down as friends caught in corruption net
by TPN/ Lusa, in News · 20-11-2014 14:55:00 · 0 Comments

The Portuguese Minister of Internal Affairs, Miguel Macedo, has announced he is to resign in the wake of a scandal involving gold visas saying his “authority was diminished”, even though he had no hand in the process.
Portugal Minister steps down as friends caught in corruption net

“I have no intervention in the administrative process of attributing visas and personally, nothing to do with the investigations, as the Attorney General said in a communiqué”, Macedo said in a declaration read in his ministry on Sunday.
Several people close to Miguel Macedo, such as the President of the Institute of Registries and Notaries, António Figueiredo, and the National Director of the Border Authorities, Manuel Palos, are being investigated as part of ‘Operation labyrinth’ which is focussing on alleged corruption in attributing gold visas.
Meanwhile, some of the most senior figures in the Portuguese burea-ucracy, including Manuel Jarmela Palos and António Figueiredo, spent the weekend being interrogated on charges of corruption and money laundering.
A statement from the Attorney General’s Office confirmed that a total of eleven people had been arrested and face charges in relation to the issuing of gold visas with Maria Antónia Anes, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice, also included in that number.
The authorities spent last Thursday making a total of sixty raids reaching across much of the Portuguese state bureaucracy with focal points featuring the Ministries of Internal Affairs, of Justice and of the Environment, Planning and Energy.
“These raids related to the collection of information related to those departments, services and employees of those ministries and did not target any member of the government,” the Attorney General’s statement read.
The eleven are expected to face a number of charges ranging from fraud and dereliction of duty through to corruption and money laundering.
The gold visa programme was launched in 2013 and fast tracks the visa process for citizens living outside of the Schengen space that invest a certain amount in Portugal for a period of no less than five years.
Thus far, the two years of the programme has seen a total of 1,649 visas awarded, the majority to Chinese citizens, attracting in excess of €1 billion in investment, primarily going into the property market.

http://theportugalnews.com/news/portuga ... -net/33259
"A professor of mine used to say 'I have as a pet a coprophagic beetle, who eats only dung. His antennae quiver when he detects the presence of his food.'" - Edison, English-language Wikipedia Admin

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