The announcement of the filing of a disciplinary process against Lopes da Mota over indications of pressure on the Freeport process investigators has done nothing to help the already difficult relationship with the British investigators of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Members of that English body that investigates serious fraud cases, namely the Freeport case and its connections with Portugal, told 24horas that they “don’t want any contact with the president of Eurojust” until the inquiry is concluded.
Despite this not being the British government’s official position yet, the SFO members continue not to trust the Portuguese who had previously been accused of creating great difficulties” in the treatment of the Freeport case with the Portuguese authorities. The contents of an internal SFO document, as 24horas has previously revealed, described the joint general prosecutor and president of Eurojust as a “competent” person but very “little determined to move the case forward”.
José Luís Lopes da Mota is also cited as being connected to other cases where the European body Eurojust played a crucial role between both countries’ judicial authorities, namely in the Freeport and Maddie cases. Investigations that are considered to be politically very “sensitive” by the governments in Lisbon and in London and in which the role of the Portuguese official had been targeted with some criticism.
Both in the Freeport case and in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, two cases that are connected to the United Kingdom, the investigators complained about political and diplomatic pressures.
AG and DCIAP uphold trust in the magistrate
Cândida Almeida, the head of the Central Department for Penal Investigation and Action (DCIAP), stated yesterday that the Attorney General, Pinto Monteiro, “has not removed his trust” in Lopes da Mota, despite his decision to file a disciplinary process against him, over indications of pressure on the Freeport process investigators.
The head of DCIAP, while stressing the presumption of innocence that must benefit Lopes da Mota, defended that the Portuguese official should hold his post in that European body, as his removal, before the application of “any sort of punishment”, “might behead a department of major importance, such as Eurojust”.
While the disciplinary process runs its course, two opposition parties have already announced their intent to summon Lopes da Mota for him to explain himself the Republic’s Parliament. CDS-PP, through member of parliament Nuno Melo, states it is ready to “do anything” to hear out the president of Eurojust, with Bloco de Esquerda assuming the same position.
in 24horas ◊ translated by Astro