Submarines case: "Juncker must press German authorities to cooperate with Portuguese Attorney General "
Brussels, January 6, 2015 - Ana Gomes MEP sent a letter today to the President of the European Commission (EC), Jean -Claude Juncker, requiring EC intervention to press German authorities to cooperate with the Portuguese prosecutors investigating the purchase of two submarines in 2004 by the Portuguese State to a German Submarine Consortium (GSC), led by company MAN/Ferrostaal, for suspicions of fraud, corruption, influence peddling and money laundering. Representatives of the GSC, Ferrostaal and a Portuguese Honorary Consul have already been convicted for corruption in Germany with regard to this case.
The request of the S&D MEP, who is also assistant-party in the judicial procedure, follows the decision by the Attorney General in Portugal to close the judicial investigation. Prosecutors claim that the investigation stalled, in part due to missing elements containing the financial circuits of the payments made by the GSC to ESCOM, a service provider within Grupo Espírito Santo, which the GSC hired to assist in the realization of offsets. The required documents were found during searches to Ferrostaal headquarters in Essen by the German law enforcement, and are essential to determine whether bribes were paid to Portuguese decision-makers to ensure the award of the contract of submarines to the GSC.
Several indications - including the testimony of a representative of Ferrostaal during the German investigation- lead to the existence of an agreement between the German authorities who carried out searches at the company based in Essen, and the legal department of Ferrostaal, to prevent the seizure of documents relating to the contract with the Portuguese State.
Ana Gomes sent similar letters to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - an OECD body that promotes the implementation of measures to combat money laundering - and Eurojust, requiring that these entities, within their powers, press the German authorities to comply with letters rogatory sent by the Portuguese Attorney General over the years.
The Portuguese MEP also addressed two letters to Chancellor Angela Merkel this year, requiring the submission of these documents and, subsequently, an investigation into the conduct of the judicial authorities in this case, and has already received a reply from the German Ministry of Justice to the first letter.