The defense of José Socrates held this Thursday the “false, unfair, and absurd” the new suspect, linked to the Espírito Santo Group, launched against the former prime minister in the Operation Marquis, after the ex-banker Ricardo Salgado have been identified as the suspect.
In a statement sent to Lusa agency, the lawyers claim that this new suspect “is more a insult as all the previous ones” – Lena Group, Park School, Angola, Venezuela, Algeria, Vale do Lobo, being “a falsehood that [Socrates] is the owner, I have had access to or even knowledge of any bank account in Switzerland”. The lawyers, Pedro Delille and João Araújo consider also “absolutely false” that the then Government of José Socrates “has taken any decision in order to benefit from” Ricardo Salgado or the Espírito Santo Group (GES).
Ricardo Salgado was charged on Wednesday and, after a judicial hearing, was not able to leave for abroad without prior authorisation, and prohibited from contact with the accused from the Operation Marquis. The former president of BES is indicted for the facts which may integrate the crimes of corruption, abuse of trust, influence peddling, money laundering and tax fraud qualified.
“When you move from suspicion in suspicion, and from there to the other suspicions that already have nothing to do with the above, the Public Prosecutor confirms that it is in the sight of all: arrested [Socrates] without facts and without evidence, made imputations unfounded and insulting, and turned what could and should have been a research objective and without bias in the pursuit of a target, whose motivation can only be found in personal hatred and political reasons”, they criticize the lawyers.
For the defense of Socrates, the initiative to find a new suspect is “manifestly intended to distract attention from the fact that the most evident of this process: the Public Ministry maintains illegally opened an investigation that has already exceeded all time limits, all of this, “in the hope of a miracle that will bring, finally, the facts and the evidence that never was”.
According to the PGR, the Operation Marquis account with 20 defendants, 15 individuals and five legal entities, including Socrates, the former socialist minister Armando Vara and the businessman Carlos Santos Silva, among others. Two years after the beginning of the investigation, that on the 20th November 2014 made the first arrests, the prosecutorial investigation should be completed on the 17th of March.