24 November 2014
The Portuguese police have arrested former Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates and three others on suspected charges of tax fraud, corruption and money-laundering. Socrates appeared before the criminal judge for questioning. His apartment was searched before he was brought before the judge. More than 60 police, customs officers and justice officials carried out raids at several unspecified locations ahead of the arrests. The investigations centered round some banking operations and money transfers. These transactions were done during the time Socrates was prime minister between 2005 and 2011.
Socrates was arrested at Lisbon Airport on Friday as he arrived from Paris. Three other individuals who were linked to Socrates were also arrested.
Socrates resigned from premiership in the middle of his second 4 year term when the debt crisis forced him to seek international help which came with severe austerity measure. The snap poll held after his resignation brought the centre-right ruling coalition to power. The new government introduced unpopular measures such as tax hikes, wage and pension cuts.
After stepping down from the premiership, Socrates, went to Paris and studied at the institute of policy studies in Paris. On his return from Paris, he started a new career as a commentator on RTP public television
Arrest of Socrates comes hard on the heels of another scandal which cost Portugal’s Interior Minister Miguel Macedo his job on Sunday. Macedo resigned after several senior officials were arrested for money-laundering and influence peddling around so-called “golden visas”. Under the “golden visas” scheme foreigners buying properties in Portugal valued at more than Euro 500,000 and keeping it for a period of 5 years were given residency rights in Portugal and besides they could travel visa-free throughout the European Union. Portugal rolled out this program to soften the blow from the debt crisis. Macedo said that he had no personal responsibility in the matter but his political authority was undermined and therefore he decided to resign.
Portugal: Former Premier arrested on corruption charges
24 November 2014