Colin Stevens, 03 June 2021
Such calls have gained fresh momentum in recent months following the recent controversial decision to drop serious criminal charges against Portugal’s former Prime Minister Jose Socrates.
On 25 May 2019, EPP’s candidate for new Commission president , German Manfred Weber wanted to apply sanctions against Portugal. Right-wing Paulo Rangel and Nuno Melo do not miss a chance to point out that it was a socialist government – at the time led by José Sócrates – that had asked for the intervention of the “troika”(European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank).
A judge in Lisbon ruled that, more than six years after his arrest in a major corruption investigation, Socrates will stand trial, but only on lesser charges of money laundering and falsifying documents. In a decision that sent shockwaves through the country, the judge dismissed corruption accusations against Socrates as weak, inconsistent or lacking sufficient evidence, and noted that the statute of limitations had run out on some of them.
Rosa also dismissed tax fraud charges against Socrates, who will be tried on three counts of money laundering worth some €1.7 million and three others of faking documents related to service contracts and the purchase and renting of an apartment in Paris.
In a country notorious for its slow justice system, it had actually taken prosecutors three years after Socrates’ initial arrest to formally charge him with 31 crimes allegedly committed in the 2006-2015 period.