Armando Pereira’s defense says MP’s indictment “is a set of presumptions”

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The defense of Altice co-founder Armando Pereira today criticized the indictment of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) in the process called ‘Operation Picoas’, stressing that it is based on a “set of presumptions” and reiterating the innocence of the businessman.

“[Not guilty?] Completely, I have no doubt about that. The existing indictment is not an indictment, it is a set of presumptions from fact A, fact B, fact C. That is not a way of indicting, it is not a way of saying that someone is guilty of anything; it is just building a story. As we say today, a narrative”, said lawyer Manuel Magalhães e Silva.

Speaking to journalists outside the Central Criminal Investigation Court (TCIC) in Lisbon, where Armando Pereira continued to be questioned this morning, the lawyer recalled the absence of an indictment of the crime of tax fraud to his client to exemplify that it will be the suspicions about other people that the MP seeks to associate with the co-founder of Altice.

“There is no factual [indictment]. There are several situations of other people who, then, by presumption, building a narrative, want to impute themselves also to Armando Pereira. Look at what happened for days with the tax fraud. Armando Pereira appeared to be responsible before the city and the world for a monumental tax fraud that would reach 250 million euros and there is no accusation by the MP of tax fraud against Armando Pereira “, he said.

The lawyer explained that the co-founder of Altice still has to clarify “one or two questions after lunch”. However, he stressed that “it was possible to clarify all the elements” that had been imputed by the MP to his constituent and that the interrogation ends today, expressing the expectation of a “favorable decision in terms of coercion measure” and that translates into Armando Pereira going free, after a week of detention.

The co-founder of Altice is indicted for 11 crimes, including six counts of active corruption and one count of passive corruption in the private sector, as well as four counts of money laundering and unquantified offenses of falsifying documents in the ‘Operation Picoas’ case.

According to the MP’s Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP), the operation triggered on July 13, which led to three arrests, included about 90 home and non-home searches, including company premises and law firms in various parts of the country. Hernâni Vaz Antunes was the fourth defendant to be arrested, but this occurred only on the 15th, after he surrendered to the authorities.

At stake is allegedly a “vitiation of the Altice Group’s decision-making process, in terms of contracting, with practices harmful to the companies of that group and to competition”, which point to private corruption in active and passive form. The authorities also point out that at the tax level the State will have been defrauded of a sum “in excess of 100 million euros”.

The investigation also indicates the existence of evidence of “abusive use of the reduced taxation applied in terms of IRC in the Madeira Free Zone” through the fictitious tax domiciliation of people and companies. The MP believes that offshore companies have also been used, indicating the crimes of money laundering and forgery.

In the searches, DCIAP revealed that documents and objects were seized, “such as luxury vehicles and exclusive models with an estimated value of around €20 million”.

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