Investigating judge decides today whether all 25 defendants in BES/GES case will stand trial

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Judge Pedro Santos Correia decides today whether the 25 defendants in the BES / GES case will go to trial, with the reading of the instructional decision scheduled for 14:00, at the Central Criminal Investigation Court (TCIC).

The decision was scheduled for July 14, but was postponed to today, as it has not yet been completed, said the investigating judge in an order to which Lusa had access.

The preliminary hearing of the case also known as “Universo Espírito Santo” took place between May 2 and 9 at the Monsanto court (Lisbon).

Judge Pedro Santos Correia’s preliminary ruling will determine whether or not the 25 defendants will answer in court and for what crimes.

In May, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) argued that “there is sufficient evidence for all defendants to be subject to trial, pronounced in the exact terms of the indictment”, while most of the defenses criticized the prosecutors’ thesis and called for the defendants not to be subject to trial.

The pre-trial phase started on April 26, 2022, then still in the hands of Judge Ivo Rosa, replaced by Pedro Santos Correia in September, by decision of the Superior Council of the Magistracy.

On July 14, 2020, the investigation of the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP) resulted in the indictment of 25 defendants (18 people and seven companies), including the former chairman of the Espírito Santo Group (GES), Ricardo Salgado. The former banker was charged with 65 crimes, namely criminal association, active corruption, document forgery, qualified fraud, money laundering, infidelity and market manipulation.

Considered one of the largest cases in the history of Portuguese justice, this case brings together in the main case 242 inquiries, which were joined, and complaints from more than 300 people, natural and legal, residing in Portugal and abroad.

According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, whose indictment ran to some 4,000 pages, the collapse of the Espírito Santo Group (GES) in 2014 caused losses of more than €11.8 billion.

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