Former Economy Minister Manuel Pinho, accused in the EDP process, on suspicion of having been corrupted to favor the electricity company, released on the Internet his initial statement in last week’s interrogation at the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP), reiterating that he did not favor EDP and showed regret for having accepted to be a minister during the first government of José Sócrates, between 2005 and 2009.
Accepting a political position “was a huge mistake”, points out Manuel Pinho. “In addition to the costs that my family and I had to bear in financial terms (I was very impoverished in politics, as opposed to getting rich) and in public exposure, later my life was never the same, having led to a confinement that already leads nine years,” declares the former minister, on a website he created to promote his defense.
In that space, in addition to revealing that he is preparing the launch of a book entitled “Confined”, Manuel Pinho says he is being the target of a smear campaign.
“I live confined as a result of being investigated for nine years about alleged favoring of EDP in 2007, when I was a minister (2005-2009) and the defamatory campaign I was (and am) targeted. As you will see, the process involves situations that would have no place during the Estado Novo,” laments Pinho.
The former minister published the statements he made in interrogation at DCIAP. “During the 9 years of this investigation, I lived in a situation of real confinement, which implied having to establish residence abroad without a permanent residence visa, having seen my social relations in Portugal become increasingly limited, having to give explanations whenever I need to open a bank account or get a visa to travel and it is very difficult, or even impossible, to work,” he declared.
In the same document, he reveals that in 2013 he was confronted by a journalist with his 2012 income statement. “Once faced with this situation that would never have taken place under the rule of law, I asked the Tax Authority to carry out an internal investigation to find the person responsible (or responsible) for the breach of my tax confidentiality. To my surprise and then my lawyer, I was informed by AT that the Public Prosecutor’s Office had requested the breach of my tax confidentiality. .
The former minister denies, in his defense, the thesis that his going to the Socrates government was an idea of Ricardo Salgado to defend the interests of the Espírito Santo Group in EDP (where BES had for years a share of little more than 2%), and that António Mexia’s rise at EDP (which he left in 2020) was determined by Salgado.
“Ricardo Salgado had absolutely nothing to do with the appointment of António Mexia. Zero. It’s not worth going there because they won’t get anywhere. There are many witnesses who can confirm it. This means that Ricardo Salgado and BES they have absolutely nothing to do with the EDP case, which concerns supposed favoritism that never existed,” says Pinho.
The former minister also accuses the Public Ministry of delaying an investigation that had “nothing” to accuse the investigated, even when searches were carried out and defendants appointed four years ago.
“The prosecutors know better than anyone that they constituted defendants just because they wanted to stop what, in your opinion, were limitation periods and have time to retrieve material from news published in the press and on social networks and from other processes under investigation in order to create a case. In the 39 pages of the indictment that they delivered to me in 2019, there are 21 references to articles published in the press! That is, they debit malicious information and lies to the press, they publish what they give them and you use it as a means of proof,” accuses Pinho.
In his speech, where he recovers several arguments already used in the past to defend that EDP was not benefited under the CMEC (Costs for Maintaining the Contractual Balance) regime, Manuel Pinho does not explain one of the suspicions of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which they are the receipts that he owned, through a bank account of a company in Panama, with monthly payments from ES Enterprises, the so-called “blue bag” of Grupo Espírito Santo.
Pinho only makes a reference to defend that he did not receive improper payments. “I can guarantee that I did not receive an undue euro from BES. For any specific payments that have been made to me, I continue to wait for them to show me the documents that title them, which my lawyers requested on 09/19/2019 and on 30 /10/2019, no response to date, but I want to say that I have never received anything that was not owed to me,” he declared.
Source: Expresso by expresso.pt.
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