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Portugal’s ex-PM appears before judge in corruption case

Portugal’s former Socialist prime minister Jose Socrates appeared in court again Monday to answer questions in a tax fraud, corruption and money laundering probe that has shocked the country.

Socrates, 57, first went before a judge Saturday and has been detained since his arrest Friday at Lisbon airport after arriving on a flight from Paris.

His attorney, Joao Araujo, said Socrates would “of course” answer questions from examining magistrate Carlos Alexandre on money transfers and banking operations that have fallen under suspicion.

The centre-right government has remained discreet about the case. Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said Sunday it “pertains to the law and not politics,” adding “Portugal has strong institutions that work.”

But Socrates’ arrest was the latest bombshell in Portuguese politics, coming hard on the heels of another scandal that cost Interior Minister Miguel Macedo his job.