Former Portuguese PM stands trial for money laundering, document falsification

Six years after he was arrested at Lisbon airport, 63-year-old José Sócrates is the first former head of government to stand trial in Portugal, after prosecutors accused him of 31 offences. [EPA-EFE/ANTONIO COTRIM]

Former Portuguese prime minister and leader of the Socialist Party, José Sócrates, will stand trial in the Operation Marquês case for money laundering and falsifying documents.

Six years after he was arrested at Lisbon airport, 63-year-old José Sócrates is the first former head of government to stand trial in Portugal, after prosecutors accused him of 31 offences.

In addition to Sócrates, other public figures were also involved in the case. However, of the 189 crimes listed in the Operation Marquês indictment, only 17 have been confirmed for trial against five of the 28 defendants, according to the pre-trial decision discussed Friday.

Of the 28 defendants, including 19 individuals and nine companies, the criminal investigation judge Ivo Rosa decided to send to trial José Sócrates, his friend and businessman Carlos Santos Silva, the former minister Armando Vara, the banker Ricardo Salgado, all for economic and financial crimes. Sócrates’ former driver Joao Perna was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon.

The prosecution will appeal the decision, Prosecutor Rosário Teixeira confirmed. (Cristina Cardoso and Fernando Carneiro | Lusa.pt)

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