The 2004 purchase of two submarines from a German consortium that includied Ferrostaal, was eased through by the payment of €6.4 million in bribes to establishment figures in Portugal.
People linked to the PSD/CDS-PP government and to the Portuguese Navy received €1.6 million each to ‘facilitate business’ with the German submarine consortium.
The committee of inquiry into the collapse of BES today heard a commentary from the Deputy Prime Minister, Paulo Portas but as the questioning drifted from BES onto the submarines case, there was a heated exchange of words between Portas and Socialist MP José Magalhães.
In response to questions posted by Magalhães, Paulo Portas said, "we return to the usual obsession of submarines. The MP is not a policeman, or an investigator, or a prosecutor, or a judge."
MEP Ana Gomes is convinced there are "extremely serious facts" that have been unearthed that relate to Portugal’s purchase of two submarines from the Germans and is to attack on two fronts, the courts and parliament, to try and get deputy PM Paulo Portas to answer questions on his involvement in the sordid affair.
Portas is clearly rattled and called Ana Gomes a ‘compulsive liar’ in an rude, ungentlemanly and unprecedented outburst, adding that he will 'come when called' to any parliamentary committee of enquiry.
Luis Horta e Costa, director of BES subsidiary Escom implicated in the submarine payments scandal, was in front of the parliamentary committee today.
As one of the main players in the handling of 'success fees' paid by the German submaine consortium, Horta e Costa today said that he was fed up with those people who said they know nothing about the events and transactions surrounding the deal.
The archiving of the submarine case without a single prosecution has led to the frustration of thousands of Portuguese citizens.
An open letter to the Attorney General's Office already has over 4,600 signatures from citizens reflecting the widely held view that the archiving of the case was more of a politically motivated whitewash than a genuine attempt to discover the truth.
The Paulo Portas New Year message addressed the controversial submarine affair, stating that "none of the suspicions were true."
The leader of the coalition Social Democrats has spoken for the first time since the corruption case was conveniently archived and he took the opportunity of trotting out the age old assertion that the accusations against him were politically motivated.
Today's Expresso newspaper reveals what happened to the submarine ‘fees’ and the deliberate concealment of €27 million, hidden away 'to circumvent the tax authorities.'
The two submarines purchased from the German Submarine Consortium cost €880 million and Escom, a Banco Espírito Santo subsidiary, spent €2.1 million to set up and manage a secret fund in the Bahamas in order to hide the destination of the money.
Good news indeed for the deputy prime minister Paulo Portas as the state prosecutor has decided officially to archive the submarine bribery and corruption case that has overshadowed the former defence minister for years.
The state prosecutor has ended up deciding not to prosecute anyone in the submarines case, which has been subject to eight years of investigation, all amounting to nothing.