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Former Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates charged with money-laundering and forgery

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Jose Socrates

A Lisbon judge has sent former Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates for trial on charges of money-laundering and forgery but said the statute of limitations had expired on more than a dozen allegations of corruption against him.

Judge Ivo Rosa ruled that €1.7m ($2 million), much of it in cash, given to Socrates 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.

Mr Socrates 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 judge said that because payments were in cash and that in phone conversations the two men used codewords when talking about money suggested corrupt acts.

However, the judge also said the statute of limitations has expired.

The judge also dismissed other allegations of corruption against Mr Socrates either because of a lack of evidence or the statute of limitations.

Both the prosecutors and Mr Socrates will be able to file an appeal against the ruling.

Prosecutors alleged that he gathered around €34m ($40 million) during and after his six years in office between 2005 and 2011.

Mr Socrates, who was a centre-left Socialist prime minister, has denied any wrongdoing.

He was jailed following his arrest and held in prison for nine months before being placed under house arrest and then freed on bail.

 

 

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