Former Economy Minister Manuel Pinho and former BES president Ricardo Salgado are on trial in the EDP case, which is at an advanced stage, criminal investigation judge Gabriela Assunção decided this Friday.
Ricardo Salgado, Manuel Pinho and even his wife, Alexandra Pinho, were pronounced for judgment for favoring the then minister to the infamous PIN (Projects of National Interest) of the Espírito Santo Group.
At the end of the investigation of the case, Judge Gabriela Assunção concluded that there is sufficient evidence that the former banker, who was known as the “owner of all this”, paid Manuel Pinho to obtain his favors. Before being appointed Minister of Economy and Innovation in the Government led by José Sócrates, Pinho had been a member of the board of directors of Banco Epírito Santo
At stake are crimes of corruption, tax fraud and money laundering.
The former economy minister, who will remain under house arrest, is sentenced for a crime of passive corruption for an illicit act, another of passive corruption, a crime of money laundering and a crime of tax fraud.
“Justice is done sometimes and not done in others, as in this case”, reacted lawyer Ricardo Sá Fernandes, who represents Manuel Pinho.
At one point, the judge supported Manuel Pinho’s defense, concluding that the correspondence exchanged between Manuel Pinho and his lawyers cannot be used as evidence. The magistrate noted, however, that there was also nothing relevant to support the prosecution’s accusation.
As for Ricardo Salgado, the judge pronounced him for a crime of active corruption for an illicit act, a crime of active corruption and another of money laundering.
Alexandra Pinho, on the other hand, will be tried for a crime of money laundering and another of tax fraud, committed in material co-authorship with her husband.
Proença de Carvalho, Ricardo Salgado’s lawyer, said on leaving the court that there was no investigation of the case: “The process took more than ten years to be investigated and, the first time there is an opportunity for the accused to defend himself before a judge , they were denied that right”.
The instruction of this process was quite fast because the titular judge understood that this procedural phase is not a pretrial and rejected the list of witnesses presented by the defenses, as well as the subjection of Ricardo Salgado to a medical examination to determine if he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease . Such steps, argued Gabriela Assunção, are typical of the trial phase.
The instruction is an optional phase of the criminal procedure that is directed by a judge and is intended to verify whether the order closing the investigation (in this specific case, the order of indictment) is in a position to be submitted to trial.