Portuguese judge rulings the trial of the former Prime Minister

A Lisbon judge will rule on Friday whether the evidence collected by the prosecutor is sufficient to bring former Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates to trial on suspicion of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

Prosecutors allege that Socrates had pocketed about 34 million euros ($ 40 million) during and after six years in office from 2005 to 2011.

Socrates, a center-left socialist prime minister, denied any misconduct. He describes the claim as “ridiculous” and says that some of the money he allegedly received was a loan from a close friend.

It was not clear whether Socrates would attend an afternoon court session to hear the judge’s decision.

Both the prosecutor and Socrates can appeal the decision.

Socrates, 63, is suspected of being at the heart of a gloomy corporate profit network that has won contracts in the construction, banking and telecommunications sectors and paid his influence to gain a business advantage. there is. The price reportedly reaches about 5,000 pages.

The case has been in control of Portugal since Socrates was arrested at Lisbon Airport in 2014, and Judge Ivo Rosa has taken the unusual step of allowing the proceedings to be broadcast live on Friday.

The prosecution claims that complex international bank transfers and the purchase of property, art and other assets in the name of family and friends were aimed at concealing corruption.

They claim that even when Socrates lived in a luxury apartment in Paris after leaving his office, a large amount of cash was delivered to Socrates in an envelope or briefcase.

The proceedings involved 28 defendants (including 19 and 9 companies), represented by 39 lawyers.

Among the defendants are the former chief of Portugal’s largest private bank, which went bankrupt in another scandal in 2014, and two former chiefs of Portugal Telecom.

The proceeding required translating tens of thousands of pages of documents from French and English. Although it helped delay the case, the Portuguese legal system is notorious and slow and has been the subject of frequent criticism. Prosecutors complain about lack of resources.

In the office, Socrates became famous as a modernizer. His government has defended the country’s green energy sector by introducing laws that allow gay marriage and abortion.

Internationally, he helped complete the Treaty of Lisbon, known as the European Union’s rulebook, signed in 2007 in the Portuguese capital under the six-month presidential palace of Portugal.

Socrates was also in power during the European debt crisis when Portugal needed € 78 billion ($ 92 billion) in international relief in 2011.

Subsequent police investigations cast a cloud over his reputation. He was imprisoned after his arrest, imprisoned for nine months, then house arrested and released on bail.

Other members of the Socrates government, including former Minister of Economy Manuel Pinho, have been or are still investigating allegations of corruption.

Former Socrates Interior Minister Armand de Brignac has been sentenced to five years in prison for violating his dominant bargaining position.

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