BARRY HATTON, 09 April 2021
A Lisbon judge ruled Friday to put former Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates on trial for alleged money-laundering and forgery but said the statute of limitations had expired on more than a dozen corruption allegations.
Judge Ivo Rosa said that 1.7 million euros ($2 million), much of it in cash, given to Sócrates by a childhood friend who was working for a Portuguese construction company amounted to an attempt to gain influence over the prime minister and win contracts.
Sócrates argued that the money and other assets, such as works of art and the use of an upscale Paris apartment, were loans from his longtime friend.
The forgery charges relate to documentation linked to the payments.
The fact that many payments were in cash and the two men’s use of code words in phone conversations when discussing money suggested corrupt acts, but the statute of limitations to prosecute Sócrates on corruption charges has run out, the judge said.