Duarte Lima acquitted in €5 million theft case
Duarte Lima has been acquitted in the case of the missing €5 million, allegedly stolen from Rosalina Ribeiro in Brazil and transferred to Lima’s Swiss bank account.
A Lisbon Criminal Court found Duarte Lima had no case to answer a key witness altered his testimony during the investigation.
Portugal’s Public Prosecutors had accused Lima of improperly transferring the money so that he could hang onto it – but they now believe Armando Carvalho’s original testimony.
Carvalho, Rosalina Ribeiro’s godson, at first told Brazilian police that his godmother had transferred the money to Lima’s Swiss bank account in order to hide it from the daughter of the man who had willed it to her, the millionaire, Lúcio Tomé Feteira.
In a crucial change of evidence, the godson, later denied saying this and the Brazilian prosecutors thus had found a motive to explain why they thought Lima murdered Rosalina Ribeiro, i.e. that she was killed so that Lima could keep the money he had transferred to Switzerland.
With Portugal’s prosecutors now agreeing the original evidence was reliable, Lima has been acquitted.
In his own statement to the media, Duarte Lima stated, “I hope that, from now on, anyone who wants to speak publicly about this case will not do it without reading this sentence.”
“I would like to reiterate that it was accusations from Olímpia Feteira, the millionaire’s daughter, that two different courts from two different countries proved to be false – that served as the basis, motive and foundation for the accusation in which the Brazilian police accused me of a heinous crime that I did not commit,” added Lima.
Duarte Lima, a bankrupt lawyer, now will be working with his team to have the murder charge also kicked out of court, claiming the original testimony from the godson was correct and that there was a reasonable explanation for the transfer of the funds.
It may bemuse many as to why Portugal’s Public Prosecution service and a Lisbon court believes that the fact the €5 million was transferred to Lima’s Swiss bank account, at the request of a woman who later was murdered, absolves Duarte Lima from planning to steal it after her death.
In November 2016, a decision was made to try Lima in Portugal for Rosalina Ribeiro’s murder after a request from the Lisbon Prosecutor’s office was granted by the Brazilian judiciary.
“It was decided unanimously to uphold the appeal to transfer the present criminal case to Portugal,” said the Brazilian judge who signs the transfer order.
The Brazilians claim that, “The defendant travelled from Portugal to Brazil and here he murdered Rosalina Ribeiro, luring her to an ambush in a wilderness at the side of a highway and shooting her in the head and chest.”
“All the legal conditions for the transfer of the case are verified: the accused is a Portuguese citizen, which makes it impossible to grant extradition requests by Brazil, and is in Portugal, where he is domiciled. If he is condemned in Brazil it will be impossible to secure his return Brazil with which he has no ties.”
With Portugal’s Public Prosecution service now batting in Lima’s team, the accused will be praying that his murder trial indeed is heard in Portugal, not Brazil where the police give all the indications of not believing a word he says.
Lima also faces six years in jail for his part in the BPN Homeland banking fraud, an accusation of which he was found guilty. The former MP was sentenced in November 2014, but successive appeals to the Lisbon Court of Appeals, Supreme Court and Constitutional Court have prevented him from serving his sentence.