Judge Ivo Rosa took 2 years and 7 months to take a decision on the criminal investigation phase of Operation Marquis. What contrasts with the 3 months that, for example, Judge Carlos Alexandre took a long time to make an instructive decision on the main process of the BPN case – an equally complex case (the fraud of a bank’s accounting), but of a smaller dimension than Operation Marquis.
And no, Alexandre did not make a quick instruction to fully follow the prosecution of the MP. In this case, the investigating judge dismissed all or part of 10 defendants out of the 32 accused by prosecutor Rosário Teixeira.
What about the MP resource for the Lisbon Relationship? How long will it take to be appreciated? Between one to two years, in an optimistic forecast.
For example, the so-called Sonair case – an economic-financial crime case that was closed with a controversial instructional decision and the subject of an appeal by the MP for the Lisbon Relationship – took about one year to seven months to have judgment. It is true that the records of Operation Marquis are much more complex (and with an immeasurably larger dimension) than those of the Sonair case. But the priority that the Lisbon Relationship will give to the MP resource will make the timing two years for a decision on the appeal of the MP is reasonable.
As important as this inevitable MP resource to maintain the coherence of the thesis that underlies the prosecution is another historical record: Ivo Rosa’s defeats in the Lisbon List.
According to the Observer’s calculations until September 2020, the magistrate of the Central Court of Criminal Investigation has already had at least 17 defeats in that higher court. The number is only an estimate and is not official, as the Lisbon Court of Appeal does not have statistics based on judges. However, more than the number of decisions reversed, what matters is the fact that the judgments in question originate in the three criminal sections homogeneously, the number of judges who have already censored Ivo Rosa is significant (at least 12 magistrates different) and the censorship contained in the judgments in question are equally significant, as the Observer has reported since 2017.
Exorbitating the competencies of an investigating judge (invading the powers of the MP in the investigation phase) and deciding against peaceful jurisprudence in the legal community (applying the law in the wrong way) tend to be the most frequent censors of the judges against Ivo Rosa, as you can see here .
Why does Ivo Rosa lose so many resources in the Relationship?
An important note: most of Ivo Rosa’s defeats are linked to the investigation phase and not to the criminal investigation phase.
Of the defeats in the criminal investigation phase, the most important stands out: the Sonair case, a case of corruption, tax fraud and money laundering that involves several TAP officials, Portuguese lawyers and those in charge of the Angolan oil company Sonangol (the former president Francisco Lemos Maria Lemos and two other former administrators).
The DCIAP only accused Portuguese defendants and sent the case file for Angolan defendants to Luanda. The charge for active corruption against lawyer Miguel Alves, who allegedly created an alleged fraudulent scheme that allowed TAP to receive € 25 million from Sonair (Sonangol’s private airline) for services it never provided, with the Portuguese airline paying 9 , 9 million to a consultancy (World Air) that also never worked for TAP. The latter amount was eventually distributed to several companies offshore which will belong to Manuel Vicente’s stepson (Mirco Martins), an alleged forehead of General Hélder Vieira Dias ‘Kopelipa’ (Zandre Finda), to the three managers of Sonangol and also those in charge of TAP.
Judge Ivo Rosa saw no solid evidence in the case and closed all suspicions, as the prosecution order “limited itself to making a generic claim (…), using vague, inaccurate and obscure formulas,” criticized Rosa, according to the newspaper Público.
The judges Cláudio Ximenes and Manuel Almeida Cabral did not hesitate to censor Ivo Rosa for badly appreciating the evidence in the file and pronounced the seven defendants in January 2020 to the exact extent of the charge brought by the prosecutor in the summer of 2017.
Ivo Rosa loses for the 12th time in Relação in a case involving Sonangol
What reason for such a disparate decision? The Sonair case, like the Operation Marquis, is based on direct evidence that proves all financial circuits and indirect evidence to explain the circulation of money.
“Whether the facts of corruption, the facts of laundering, or the facts of forgery, cannot be seen as if they had nothing to do with each other or as if each of the agents had acted in isolation, as did the court under appeal. The assessment of the evidence collected, in order to decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence for the pronunciation, must also be done within this general framework (…) without forgetting that the crimes of corruption and money laundering (…) follow a process highly complex and sophisticated “, reads in the judgment of the Lisbon Court of Appeal to which the Observer had access.
A trial in a case like Operation Marquis will always take several years. Because? For three simple reasons:
- high number of witnesses that defenses will present;
- formality of the criminal process that requires the evidence to be produced in a trial hearing;
- widespread absence in the courts of digital reproduction of documentary evidence, which causes audiences to drag on.
Starting with the first point. It is enough to relate the number of witnesses in economic-financial processes (and of another nature) with a high number of defendants, to conclude that the trials are slow:
- BPN main lawsuit – trial delayed 6 years and 5 months and had more than 300 witnesses
- Hidden Face – Trial Delayed 2 years and 10 months and had more than 350 witnesses
- Casa Pia – trial delayed 5 years and 10 months and had more than 600 witnesses
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