19 November 2008

Freeport is about to burst

Anglo-Portuguese meeting at highest level over corruption case

The licensing of the British Freeport chain in Alcochete when Sócrates was a minister, prompted an Anglo-Portuguese meeting. Portugal demands data from bank transfers and the English promised to send everything

by Carlos Tomás and Rute Coelho




The “heavyweights” from Portuguese Justice – the Public Ministry and the Polícia Judiciária – held a meeting in The Hague, in Holland, yesterday, with their British counterparts, at Eurojust (European Unit for Judiciary Cooperation) headquarters. The purpose was to exchange information about the controversial case of the licensing of Freeport, in 2002, in Alcochete, at a time when Sócrates was the Minister of Environment.

24Horas knows that the Portuguese authorities asked their British counterparts to accelerate the fulfillment of a rogatory letter that is dated from 2005. That letter requested data that was considered to be important and that may be related to the suspicion of payment of millionaire bribes for the licensing of the enterprise, namely transfers to British banks and offshore companies.

But three years have gone by and England has not sent said data. It only partially complied with what was requested in the letter, according to what we could establish from a judicial source.

Yesterday’s meeting was useful to remind the British of the fact that judicial deadlines in Portugal are not similar to British ones. And that for that reason, Portugal has an utmost urgency in the sending of that data.

The British authorities have compromised themselves at the highest level to send all the information about money transfers to British banks and offshore companies.

In the meeting, the Portuguese side was represented by Pedro do Carmo, joint director of the Polícia Judiciária, Cândida Almeida, the director of DCIAP (Central Department for Penal Investigation and Action), José Moreira da Silva, the PJ director who is responsible for economical and financial crime, and two investigators that were connected to the Freeport process. The British side was represented by a prosecutor from the Fraud Combat Department and two other investigators.

“The meeting went very well. There was full cooperation and the British police entities committed to solve the situation rapidly”, Cândida Almeida told 24Horas. Nevertheless, the head of DCIAP declined to speak about what happened during the meeting.

Cooperation to be maintained

Lopes da Mota, the Portuguese prosecutor who presides over Eurojust, where the meeting took place, had a similar attitude. “I cannot make any comments about what we discussed inside”, he said.

Johannes Tuy, an assessor to Eurojust, advanced that “the cooperation work between the British and the Portuguese authorities in the Freeport case will continue.” Tuy confirmed that “there is the possibility of a mixed Anglo-Portuguese team being created to investigate the Freeport case”. Portugal and England can request Eurojust to create this mixed team, he said. Pedro do Carmo, a joint PJ director, refused to comment on the meeting.

Facts

Meetings – Yesterday’s meeting also resulted in the possibility of further meetings taking place between the British and the Portuguese authorities over the Freeport case. No specific dates have been scheduled yet.

Sócrates – He was the Environment Minister when Freeport was licensed, in 2002. On the eve of a legislative election, news connected the licensing of the project to José Sócrates. The Attorney General denied any involvement.


source: 24 Horas, 18.11.2008

2 comments:

  1. Corruption corruption and more corruption.No need to try to understand really
    Thats the state of things in the UK:deep muddy waters...although this is not the only country but it looks like the UK has got the Olympic Torch of Corruption in its hands,very high above the rest of the european countries
    YES! a very baised comment and thoughts...I will add this corruption is very "catching" tho"
    Sick of it I am
    Thanks Joana for your work.I have very little time on my hands nowadyas to be on blogs & all but I manage to read even though I do not post.Too much is happening in the world.Lets be prepared for more lies and more corruption to the detriment of truth and justice.This is the state of our world....and it wont get better anywhere soon

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is this why the UK prefer having one foot in the EU and the other firmly out of it, so they can comply or not with international requirements depending whether or not they suit them. In the McCann case, is this helping Kate and Gerry get away with murder?

    ReplyDelete