Four Sentenced for Corruption in ‘Historic’ Case
LISBON, Portugal (AP) _ Four Portuguese businessmen were sentenced to prison on corruption charges Thursday in a case the judge called historic.
″For the first time in Portugal, individuals linked to the government have been found guilty of corruption,″ the Portuguese news agency Lusa quoted Presiding Judge Filipa Macedo as saying in an interview.
All four intend to appeal, Lusa said.
The case involved bidding for a new airport in Macau, a small, Portuguese- administered coastal enclave near Hong Kong.
Three defendants - Rui Mateus, Joao Tito de Morais, and Menano de Amaral, all employees of the Emaudio-Internacional consulting firm - drew four-year jail terms and Strecht Monteiro, a public relations consultant, three years.
The charges involved $290,000 given to Emaudio-Internacional by Monteiro, who was employed by the German construction company Weidleplan, a bidder for the project.
Former Gov. Carlos Melancia of Macau received part of the money and the rest was divided among Mateus, de Morais and de Amaral, the court heard.
At the trial, Mateus described the cash transfer as ″lobbying″ and said the money was payment for ″advice and assistance,″ Lusa reported.
The project was awarded to the French company Aeroportos de Paris, and Weidleplan faxed Melancia asking for the money back. Publication of the document in the Portuguese press led to accusations of bribery and corruption.
In an earlier trial, Melancia was found innocent of passive corruption.