25 January 2009

Sócrates' uncle tells how he established contact between his nephew and Freeport's representatives

by Felícia Cabrita

Júlio Eduardo Coelho Monteiro, a businessman, told Sol how he established contact between Freeport's representative and José Sócrates. And he replies to suspicions about his offshores

In the English authorities' investigation into the 'Freeport case', you appear connected to a firm that worked as a consultant for the outlet, Smith & Pedro, as an intermediary to obtain the licensing for the project...

Completely false. I met Charles Smith through his wife, who was the manager of a condominium at Quinta do Lago, where I bought an apartment in 1992. That gentleman was linked to Freeport, later on - and one day he complained to me that a law firm was demanding four million contos [twenty million euros] to obtain the licensing.

And did you have any intervention in that?

I told him: 'Hey, I don't believe that is possible. I'm going to talk with my nephew'.

And did you?

I did and he said: 'Uncle, that's a pack of lies, because it's me who takes care of those things. Send that person to talk to me'.

Is that what you did?

I told Charles to call the Environment Ministry and to say that he was calling on behalf of minister José Sócrates.

And was the matter resolved?

I never heard anything further... I was even annoyed afterwards, because he used my name and didn't even bother to thank me. I never heard anything further about the matter.

But the English say...

Excuse me for interrupting you, but I don't care what the English say. It's only me who knows, because it was me who spoke directly with my nephew. And he was very indignant, because it was him who was in charge of those issues. If you speak with Charles, ask him what he said and what he went there to do. I regret very much that I facilitated this...

But the authorities have indicia that Smith & Pedro obtained the licensing through...

Only from someone who doesn't know me.

... through your influence with the minister for the Environment.

That's a lie and I'm going to sue them!

But you are a 'suspect', which is not the same as being 'guilty'...

I'm a suspect, but until now I didn't know about any of this!

It is suspected that you have been paid commissions, that went into two offshores...

Two offshores under my name?

Yes. Glenstal Trading Limited, which was constituted in Gibraltar by BCP and with an open account at a branch in Funchal, but also with an account at BPN, opened on Cayman; and another offshore that was also created by BCP but in an American state, with an account on Cayman.

That actually exists. I mean, it existed. But it had no movement, they can't even prove it. It's a pure lie that I received... I was even very annoyed because Smith never thanked me - and this was highly confidential. But how did they find out about my offshores?

During the course of the investigation.

But for an investigation to exist there has to be a minimum of data. Nobody can go around checking whether people own offshores or not, unless there is a serious indicium. Which is not my case, is it?

Well...

But I have all the movements from those firms and there wasn't the slightest movement. As a matter of fact, that's not even based in banks.

Did your firms have open accounts at CGD [Portuguese state bank]?

I never owned any accounts at CGD, maybe at Banif, but I don't have any movements there either, I'm absolutely certain.

So ISA, Farol do Oriente and Imexol had no accounts at CGD?

Hey, it's true! But who could be investigating that, except for some institution? And I'm going to go onto those persons because nobody can have his personal life rummaged, isn't it?

Well, it's the police...

But how can the police do something like that? Now they know my firms? They happen to be public, they have reports, they are registered... But the offshores are not!

Do you confirm that an email was sent to Freeport, signed by the Coelho Monteiro family, informing that the licensing had been unblocked, that it was licensed, and that you awaited your reward - this matter being also known by José Sócrates?

That's a terrible fraud! I would like to access that. Do you have access to that? Only if someone entered my home. I don't even know how to send emails. You can ask my secretary. I only know how to use the fax machine. That could only come from Charles... And I've only been with him three or four times.

So this request was in which year?

When my nephew was the minister for the Environment.

And when did you meet Charles Smith?

I already told you it was through his wife and then we became friends... I mean, I was with him three or four times here in Lisbon. He made his request to me - but when he saw that I didn't follow through on anything, he started to move apart. Later on, on the day before, he called me telling that he was being asked four millions for the licensing and I spoke to my nephew who told me he should call on Monday at 9 a.m. to schedule an appointment through his secretary (whom I even think is his cousin and whom he shouted with a lot). And that's how Smith got this audience. Then I never saw him again. It was only after the election that I heard that there was an intention process but I thought: 'Right, that's another one'.

The email that I told you about, wasn't it sent from your firm Neurónio Criativo?

That firm belongs to my son, Hugo. That could have happened, because he had a project for Freeport in the marketing area. But Smith, who was taking care of that, I don't think he did anything - and it ended up closing because there was no income.

But that was only in 2004. So did your son also know Charles Smith?

Of course. We all knew each other from the Algarve.

Back to CGD. Do you deny having an account there?

Ah, wait... Yes indeed. But that is completely unrelated to the subject. I'm going to tell you something confidential, may I?

Of course!


source: Sol, 24.01.2009

2 comments:

  1. First of all thankyou for this extraordinary story:

    How fantastic!
    An uncle phones his nephew because he wants help for a victim of corruption. (4 million at stake!!!!)
    The nephew forgets all about it... (was it so common that one just happens to forget?)

    Neither uncle nor nephew reported it to the police???
    Extraordinary!
    Something doesn't add up...
    No more comments (I have a pretty good idea if what happened)

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  2. Indeed, Overwhelmed! None of them felt they had to expose the scam! And the nephew being the Environment minister, this failure to report it is even more outrageous...unless it was not convenient to do so, for whatever reason...(I too have my ideas of what followed)

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