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Portugal tightens punishment for government officials hiding assets

WorldPortugal tightens punishment for government officials hiding assets

  • Parliament is Fixed sanction for jail term of up to five years for fraudulent officers

  • The measure was intensified as a result of the Marquess case, which has placed former prime minister Socrates on the bench for falsification and laundering.

The Portuguese parliament this Friday unanimously approved a tightening of the law that binds senior government officials to declare your assets, A law that the republic’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa urged to reinforce last April resulted in the indictment of former prime minister Jose Socrates, who would sit on the bench for three offenses of falsification of documents and another three for money. Laundering. capitals. The new law provides for jail term of one to five years for senior officers who do not present their statements or who hide increase in equity More than 50 times the minimum wage, equivalent to 33,250 euros.

The rule establishes that this amount must be notified even if it contributes to the reduction of the debt or is agreed to be collected in the future. senior public officials—including deputy, mayor, judge and the president of the republic himselfThey must also justify the origin of this capital increase, whether in Portugal or abroad. Otherwise, there will be a special taxation of 80% on the income.

constitutional debate

Despite the fact that all parties have voted in favor of the new law, the centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) has expressed its opinion. doubt the constitutionality In some classes of criterion, something that has already caused Constitutional Court (TC) vetoes on two occasions. According to Orthodox deputies, the text may go against the presumption of innocence, because in this case higher public officials would have to prove that they have not committed any crime, The Social Democrats recall that it is the prosecutor’s office that must prove the contrary.

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However, socialist representatives assure that this aspect is resolved in the new law and there will be no doubts about its constitutionality, since the people were obliged to declare their property. No fee is being charged for admission, “Senior government officials will commit crimes only if they do not comply with the declaratory duty established in the law, the chairman of the parliamentary committee on transparency, socialist Jorge Lacao, assured this week.

past failures

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The Portuguese parliament has already tried twice to make the penalties for concealment of assets and illegal enrichment stricter. For the first time, in 2012, the Chamber approved the text despite a vote against the Socialist Party (PS), although TC decided to knock him down For the same arguments that the PSD has now questioned. Three years later, in 2015, the conservative government of Pedro Passos Coelho promoted a new norm, which was approved despite votes against left-wing parties and again rejected by constitutional judges on occasion. Unanimously,

In the event that this time the judges do not see any signs of unconstitutionality, the rule will go into full force, something that will help improve the population’s perception of corruption by trusting officials. According to a study published in early October by the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon, more than half the respondents He believes that corruption has increased in the country in the last one year. President Rebelo de Sousa himself has asked whether “the idea that there may be good laws but the rich and powerful will always avoid them”.

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