Duarte Lima one step closer to starting his ten-year jail sentence
The Constitutional Court has issued a further negative decision on a claim used by Duarte Lima’s lawyers to try and keep their client out of jail.
The lawyer and former parliamentary leader of the PSD, Domingos Duarte Lima, two years ago was sentenced to a six-year jail sentence for his part in the Banco Português de Negócios (BPN) case.
Duarte Lima had pleaded three technical problems in a ruling issued a month ago by the Constitutional Court which has upheld its own decision.
The defendant’s reason is that the Constitutional Court refused him leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. Lima wanted to request his acquittal or the reduction of his sentence or, the annulment of the original judgment against him.
This all related to the Homeland case, named after a fund set up in Switzerland by Duarte Lima and a former MP and co-defendant, Vítor Raposo. Lima and Raposo borrowed over €40 million to purchase land in Oeiras, where the Portuguese Oncology Institute of Lisbon was to be built but never was.
Lima and his colleagues were found guilty of obtaining a BPN loan to finance the land-purchase for a vastly inflated price. The money, that was never used for the intended purpose, was tracked to Swiss bank accounts.
BPN suffered a loss of at least €23 million.
Lima was tried and sentenced by the Judicial Court in Lisbon, on November 28, 2014, and received a ten-year sentence for fraud and money laundering. He also had to pay compensation to Parvalorem, the taxpayer-owned company that ended up with all BPN bad credit when the bank had to be nationalised.
Duarte Lima appealed the sentence and got a reduction of four years in a decision announced on April 1, 2016.
Portuguese legislation only allows for the execution of a prison sentence after a final decision has been declared, i.e. after all appeals have been exhausted.
Lima’s defence team may yet come up with other avenues of appeal to keep their client out of jail.
Lima also is to be tried for the murder of a Brazilian heiress Rosalina Ribeiro and stealing her €5 million inheritance.
Ribeiro was shot dead on December 7, 2009, in Maricá, 80 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Local police have no doubt that it was Duarte Lima that murdered or arranged the murder of the 74-year-old.
Seven years after the 2009 murder, the Brazilian justice system decided that Duarte Lima should be tried in Portugal.
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