South Africa

Former Portugal PM Socrates appeals move to try him for corruption

Indonesias anti graft chairman 1

Portugal’s former socialist prime minister Jose Socrates said on Friday he would challenge a decision to send him to trial for corruption.

“It’s a great disappointment,” he told AFP of the Lisbon appeal court’s decision, which was made public on Thursday. “I don’t agree at all.”

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Socrates already faces trial for money laundering and tax fraud, which he denies.

But he particularly objected to the decision to try him for corruption, arguing that he had been been cleared of the same charge in 2021.

That accusation had been dismissed during the investigation phase, he said.

It was “considered fanciful by the judge” and so should not have been retained, he added.

Socrates, who served as the country’s prime minister between 2005 and 2011, faces trial for 22 separate alleged crimes.

He will be just one defendant among around 20 facing trial, at a date yet to be determined.

He said he did not know if his appeal would have the effect of suspending proceedings.

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Socrates, now 66, filed a complaint against the state in 2017 for the slow pace of the investigation and for the repeated leaking of details of the case.

He had had no word of the status of his complaint, he said, adding that he felt he was involved in “a combat against the judicial system”.

Socrates was arrested in 2014 for offences allegedly committed during his term in office as prime minister.

He spent more than nine months in custody before being released to house arrest and finally freed in 2015.

Investigators suspect him of having taken around 34 million euros ($37 million) in exchange for favours given to economic groups, mainly when he was head of government and in the years that followed.

© Agence France-Presse