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Portugal's chief debt collector arrested for embezzlement

gavelThe head of Portugal’s debt enforcement agency has been arrested and is now under house arrest.

Francisco Duarte was arrested by the National Anti-Corruption Unit of the Judicial Police, after searches were carried out in Lisbon, Viseu and Cascais.

Duarte, the head of the Associação dos Agentes de Execução, was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, forgery and money laundering in a scheme that allegedly involved the diversion of more than €500,000 of customers’ money held as part of debt collection processes.

After Duarte’s appearance in Lisbon’s criminal court, the judge ordered that he should be restricted under house arrest but, until his personal electronic bracelet is ready and the scheme set up, he will be held on remand in prison.

This arrest is another positive marker as the forces of law and order continue to focus on those in charge of government agencies who are suspected of being on the take.

In the Golden Visa scandal the national director of the Aliens and Borders, Manuel Jarmela Palos was arrested alongside the Secretary-general of the Ministry of Justice, Maria Antónia Anes, and the President of the Institute of Registries and Notaries, António Figueiredo. The minister in charge resigned but admitted no involvement in profiting from illegal payments to smooth through Chinese applications for visas.

Francisco Duarte, if charged and found guilty of stealing money from repossessed and auctioned assets, may find he attracts a high degree of publicity as stealing from those whose assests are being auctioned off counts among the most grubby of crimes.


-5 #3 Stewpotz 2015-02-02 19:38
You are joking, those in Brussels are the corruption experts.
-5 #2 algarveandroid 2015-02-02 13:41
Some of the more affluent Portuguese I know are getting worried by this , not that they themselves are indeed corrupt , but that it will bring down the whole system.

Tragically they cant see that for the wealthiest it's time to pay their dues , which will only lead to the wealthy multilingual leaving for elsewhere , regressing the country back to the 80s.

Now how can we get the politicans charged for doing the same with the money from Brussels for the A22 ... a grant supposedly to aid trade and reduce accidents , that has then been sold off and to add insult to injury the Portuguese taxpayer is still paying for it despite not using it!
-3 #1 Abigail 2015-02-02 08:29
What is so desperately sad for the European Union is not just that there are such weak links in it like Greece and Portugal but that these countries are so backward that no system of alerting the authorities to wrongdoing is available. Or sufficiently trusted.

Because - as with the Golden Visas and BES and an endless list of other examples - there must have been a 'correct' procedure that some will have been following. These 'honest' (?) types well aware that others in the process had different illegal procedures.

But, with depressing familiarity, they did not speak out.

This story also involves a number of lawyers who have since been suspended for their part in laundering the money and property seized.

How is it so easy in Portugal to corrupt supposed professionals - public servants, lawyers, police, judiciary, municipal etc etc whose specific job description requires them - on behalf of society - to be 'straight' ?

Is it truly genetic and should the EU re-engineer the rogue Portuguese gene with, say, a Brussels Sprout? After all - has anyone ever been cheated by a sprout?