Portugal’s Former PM Arrested at Airport

Published: 24 November 2014


Portugal’s former prime minister is one of four to have been arrested in an investigation into suspected tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.

Police detained one-time premier Jose Socrates on Nov. 21, according to the Office of the Attorney General. Reuters reports that Socrates was arrested at Lisbon Airport as he arrived from Paris.

Jose SocratesThe exact nature of the investigation is still secret, but prosecutors say it was unrelated to other ongoing cases and began thanks to a 2008 anti-money laundering law that requires banks to report suspicious activity to the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action.

Although Socrates spent the weekend in police custody, his lawyer Joao Araujo maintained a positive outlook, telling Reuters, “He's fine, better than I am. He's in good spirits.” Araujo did not say whether his client had been formally charged with any crime.

The other three suspects arrested as part of the investigation were businessman Carlos Santos Silva, lawyer Gonçalo Trindade Ferreira and driver Joao Perna.

Socrates, a member of the Socialist Party, was the head of Portugal’s government from 2005 to 2011, when he resigned during a debt crisis after his austerity plan was rejected by parliament.

He has previously faced allegations of abuse of his earlier role as Minister of the Environment. The accusations focused on his approval of a 2002 project to construct a shopping mall on protected land, but he was never charged with a crime. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Alcochete mall case was closed in 2010.