Corruption charges: defendants go free

… “no evidence of committing crimes”

Corruption charges dismissed

It was announced this afternoon that the defendants in the corruption allegations that have been dominating Madeira for three weeks will go free as there is no evidence of committing crimes

After three weeks of detention, criminal investigation judge Jorge Bernardes de Melo ordered the release of the three defendants indicted in an alleged case of corruption in Madeira, subject to an identity and residence permit.

According to CNN Portugal, the basis of the investigating judge’s decision is the fact that Jorge Bernardes de Melo considered that there is not sufficient evidence of crimes being committed. For this reason, he understood that it was not justified to maintain measures depriving liberty, thus refusing the Public Prosecutor’s Office’s requests for the defendants to be held in preventive detention.

It is recalled that Pedro Calado, Avelino Farinha and Custódio Correia were arrested on January 24th, following searches carried out in Madeira, the Azores, and in various parts of the mainland. At issue is an investigation into suspicions of active and passive corruption, economic participation in business, malfeasance, receiving or offering improper advantages, abuse of powers and influence peddling.

Defendants are subject to an “identity and residence agreement”

Pedro Calado, Avelino Farinha and Custódio Correia are now subject to an identity and residence agreement.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office had requested the most serious coercive measure – preventive detention -, alleging danger of escape and disruption of the investigation.

The defendants are are now subject to an “identity and residence term”, a condition that obliges them, among other things, to appear before the competent authority whenever the law requires it or be notified, not to change their residence or be absent from it for more than five days without communicate your new residence or place where you can be found.

If the defendant Custódio Ferreira Correia, the defendant José Avelino Aguiar Farinha and/or the defendant Pedro Miguel Amaro de Bettencourt Calado are not accused of committing any crime, they must await the further terms of the process subject to the measure of coercion of identity and residence form, already provided.

Central Criminal Investigation Court

The former mayor of Funchal, Pedro Calado, the leader of the AFA group, Avelino Farinha, and the CEO of Socicorreia, Custódio Correia, were arrested on 24 January following an investigation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action, which led to 130 searches across the country. The defendants were detained in the prison attached to the PJ facilities for three weeks with exclusive travel to the Central Criminal Investigation Court.

The prosecution believes in the existence of a scheme between the former vice-president of the Regional Government, Avelino Farinha and Custódio Correia with a view to awarding hundreds of public works, yielding millions of euros to private entities and allowing Pedro Calado to enjoy “a standard of living much higher than that expected of a public servant, whether in the role of vice-president of the Regional Government or as president of the CMF”.

Pedro Calado was charged with seven crimes, Avelino Farinha with four and Custódio Correia with three crimes of active and passive corruption. The criminal investigation judge ruled today that the evidence did not support the commission of any crimes.

The MP’s investigations focus on facts that occurred from 2015 onwards, likely to substantiate crimes of attack against the rule of law, malfeasance, undue receipt of advantage, passive corruption, active corruption, economic participation in business, abuse of powers and trafficking in influence.

In the context of this case, the now resigned president of the Regional Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, was also accused.

12 thoughts on “Corruption charges: defendants go free”

  1. So all that tax payers money spent on the arrest ..with all those financial officers. Judges and other judicial persons
    Hired cars …hotels .. security police..etc etc

    Who’s accountable for this if they had no evidence to prove otherwise..

    Typical Portugal….if innocent should the mayor not have his job back ..or claim unfair dismissal due to being accused..???

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    • The money spent was on an Portuguese style investigation into a serious case of alleged fraud. I apologize for, yet again, comparing the UK to Portugal but in the UK the Police would have done the investigating, the defendants would have been questioned for certain fixed periods of time, then if the Police thought they had a case, charged. That evidence would been examined by the Crown Prosecution Service, a department, not one judge, who would decide if there was a reasonable chance of a jury finding the culprits guilty. If they thought the evidence too weak the case would be dropped and further expense spared. If the evidence was thought strong enough to go to court then then at a primary hearing the defendants solicitors would have been able to ask for bail. I think a better system.

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  2. Well after the newspapers and people make their judgements and find them all guilty without waiting for the supposed outcome of the justice investigation and enquirers shows that you shouldn’t judge people without any prove . And like they say in Portugal acabou tudo em águas de bacalhau completamente .

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  3. I find it disappoint that trial by media is allowed to undermine democracy.

    This sort of lemming like thinking allowed the British to vote for a box with a label called Brexit

    No one opened the box and now they have there is nothing inside. Fooled by the media, again.

    Clearly no facts were presented.

    What other option did the Judge have?

    To accuse the Judge of being corrupt is just silly let’s hope the author does not find himself on the wrong end of a civil action

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    • The issue here,that seems to be getting no attention, is the length of time,to come to this point, that is outrageous. What a mess. World focus at highest level,on Island of Madeira and its judiciary. These guys will have lawyers crawling all over this for damages.

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      • If so it will takes years

        There are still those poor families who lost love ones in that tragedy up at Monte when that tree fell

        That are still waiting for answers and compensation..the authorities sweeping the problem under the carpet so people forget ..
        And the families give in to less compensation..
        It’s disgusting..

        These guys deserve nothing compared to them …

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