Operation Fizz. Lisbon Court confirms Orlando Figueira’s sentence to effective imprisonment

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Almost three years after the first instance decision, the Court of Appeal of Lisbon decided to maintain the effective prison sentence of six years and eight months for the Public Prosecutor Orlando Figueira, in accordance with the respective judgment of the Court of Appeal of Lisbon to which Observer had access.

Figueira had been sentenced in the first instance to effective jail for passive corruption, money laundering, violation of the secrecy of justice and forgery of documents and five years of ban on exercising functions.

Lawyer Paulo Blanco was also sentenced, but to a suspended sentence of four years and four months for active corruption, money laundering, violation of the secrecy of justice and forgery of documents in what was called Operation Fizz. As for the lawyer, the Lisbon Court of Appeal also upheld the sentence decided by the first instance.

What led to the accusation of corruption against Manuel Vicente?

Judge Maria Leonor Silveira Botelho, rapporteur of the judgment, altered only a few disputed facts in the appeals of the defendants Orlando Figueira and Paulo Blanco, but did not touch the measure of the penalties decided by the first instance.

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“We understand that such penalties are fair and adequate to the prevention needs, general and special, which are felt in the case and to the degree of guilt of the defendants, not suffering from any excess, and, consequently, to maintain”, reads This judgment is also signed by judges Ana Paula Grandvaux Barbosa (deputy) and Maria da Conceição Alves Gonçalves, president of the 3rd Criminal Section of the Lisbon Court.

The defendants will still be able to appeal this decision to the higher courts, thus obtaining the suspension of the execution of the decreed sentences.

The case took longer to be considered by the higher court because magistrate Orlando Figueira decided to return to the magistracy after being convicted. The magistrate was on unpaid leave when the process took place and was judged in the first instance, however, returning to the Public Ministry (although still suspended from office) his appeal should be considered by the Supreme Court of Justice, the instance that follows the Court of Appeal where magistrates are tried. The incident was taken to the Supreme Court to decide what to do, but the appeal ended up being considered by the Court of Appeal in Lisbon, where it was distributed in March of this year.

Orlando Figueira’s nine lies — according to the decision of the Fizz operation

Figueira was convicted on suspicion of having received more than 760 thousand euros from the former vice president of Angola, Manuel Vicente, to benefit him in the processes he was investigating at the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action. As a reward, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the magistrate also won a position as legal advisor to Banco Privado Atlântico, in Angola, where he never went.

In fact, it was this contract that served as an argument for Orlando Figueira to justify part of the receipt of these amounts. A promise contract that had the participation of the lawyer Paulo Blanco, who only did not participate in the definitive contract because both cut off relations.

For the Court of Appeal, it was clear that this promise of employment contract was intended to “give an appearance of legality to the payment to Orlando Figueira of the amount of 210,000.00 USD, a payment that was made under the aforementioned corruptive agreement and in exchange for the filing of the inquiries aimed at Manuel Vicente, which Orlando Figueira effectively proceeded with manifestly violating the duties of the position he held as magistrate of the Public Ministry”.

Manuel Vicente’s criminal case was separated from this one and sent to Angola. Armindo Pires, holder of a power of attorney to represent Vicente in Portugal, was acquitted.

Magistrate Orlando Figueira was sentenced to a single effective sentence of six years and eight months in jail for the crimes of passive corruption, money laundering, document forgery and violation of the secrecy of justice and prohibition to return to the magistracy for five years. Attorney Paulo Blanco was held co-responsible (albeit for active corruption) and sentenced to a single suspended sentence of four years and four months in prison, without having to leave the practice.

Fizz case. Orlando Figueira wants special treatment

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Operation Fizz. Lisbon Court confirms Orlando Figueira’s sentence to effective imprisonment