Judge drops corruption charges against Portuguese ex-PM Socrates, who still faces trial for alleged money-laundering

The corruption charges facing Portugal’s former prime minister, Jose Socrates, since his arrest in 2014 have been dropped, but he will still stand trial for alleged money laundering, according to local reports.

Ivo Rosa, a judge at Portugal’s highest criminal court, announced on Friday that Socrates would no longer face corruption charges due to insufficient evidence, weak arguments made by the prosecution, and because the period in which some crimes can be tried has expired.

The ex-PM denies all allegations against him and told reporters that there had been a “manipulation” of the legal process by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, resulting in him being “arrested and defamed.”

The 63-year-old also vowed to defend himself against three charges of money laundering, which he and a friend, businessman Carlos Santos Silva, still face, according to local media.

The pair are also reported to be facing three charges of the forgery of documents.

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Socrates was originally alleged to have committed 31 crimes, ranging from tax fraud to corruption while in office, including during his tenure as PM from 2005 to 2011.

The socialist ex-leader was investigated as part of Portugal’s biggest ever anti-corruption probe, ‘Operation Marquis’, after being arrested at Lisbon airport.

He spent months in prison before being placed under house arrest. Socrates denies allegations that he pocketed millions of euros as part of an arrangement with the then-chiefs of Banco Espirito Santo and Portugal Telecom.

Ex-president of Espirito Santo Ricardo Salgado will stand trial on charges of abuse of trust, Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manha reported.

Former minister Armando Vara is also said to be facing a money laundering charge, while Socrates’ driver Joao Perna will stand trial for possession of a prohibited weapon.

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Source:RT World News

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