English Close the Freeport Case
Freeport's founder Sean Collidge, left, watching Edward and Sophie open the Freeport centre in 2004
London decided to close the English side of the investigations to the alleged corruption regarding the approval of the outlet of Alcochete. The Portuguese authorities are left alone in the case.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit (OACU) of the London police decided to close the case of the autonomous investigation to Freeport case, which was ongoing in England since 2007, confirmed the Expresso.
The English authorities decision to close the inquiry into the alleged corruption of the "green light" given to open the Freeport shopping center in Alcochete [a protected natural area] was taken on Thursday and is due to the lack of sufficient evidences to constitute arguidos in England and to advance with a formal accusation.
The SFO has come to request information from Portugal in early 2009 through a rogatory letter, revealing that at the time they had a list of six British citizens suspected of being involved in the corruption case. One, was Charles Smith, who was made an arguido in Portugal, since he resides here, but in relation to the other five no sufficient evidences were gathered to support the continuation of the investigations. Sean Collidge, the controversial founder of Freeport, Gary Russell, Jonathan Rawnsley, Rick Dattani and William McKinney Junior cease to be under the watchful eye of the authorities in London.
It now remains to prosecutors with the case in Portugal, Pais de Faria and Vitor Magalhães, to wait for the SFO to contribute with the answers to the rogatory requests for financial information sent by Lisbon, which are still pending.
The expectations are, however, low. According to what the Expresso revealed in the last printed edition, 75 percent of the accounting files of Freeport in London were burned in a fire.
In addition, access to databases of the internal mails relative Portugal should not be possible, since the English authorities say that those are protected by professional secrecy.
Update: Freeport Plc
The Serious Fraud Office, supported by the City of London Police, has been conducting an investigation into allegations of corruption relating to the development of the Freeport retail outlet in Alcochete, Portugal.
That investigation has now been closed. The Serious Fraud Office will continue to provide such assistance as is required to the Portuguese authorities by way of mutual legal assistance.
published today at Serious Fraud Office
The Rogatory Letter send to the Portuguese Authorities by the Serious Fraud Office
Email exchange 2001 - when the Freeport Outlet project was refused
Read as well: Freeport Corruption: The Denunciation DVD
Freeport - The DVD that is not an Evidence
Freeport - The DVD that is not an Evidence II