Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#McCann #Wikileaks - The #Freeport Connection


BRITISH LETTER ROGATORY SPECIFIES CHARGES ----------------------------------------- ¶3.

(C) In addition to being splashed across every newspaper in Lisbon, these allegations are specified in a Letter Rogatory sent to the Portuguese government by the UK's Serious Fraud Office, which is investigating six individuals in the UK for bribery and corruption.

Specifically, the charges relate to the involvement of British property developer, Freeport PLC, in the construction of the 250 million euro Freeport shopping mall in 2004 on protected marshlands in Alcochete, across the Tagus River from Lisbon.

Freeport had hired consulting firm Smith & Pedro to secure permits and approvals, and they realized the project could only move forward if the site's boundaries were redrawn and environmental regulations were waived.

However, then-Environment Minister Jose Socrates rejected the environmental impact study (EIS), saying the plan contradicted the GOP's intentions in designating the area as a protected environmental zone. ¶4. (C)

In January 2002, Smith & Pedro and Freeport officials met with Socrates and, according to the Letter Rogatory, Socrates solicited a bribe in return for approving the EIS.

The Letter Rogatory lists four Portuguese persons as having participated in the scheme: Jose Socrates, an official in the Alcochete city hall, and two representatives of Smith & Pedro.

Freeport allegedly agreed to funnel the money through Smith & Pedro to Socrates' uncle and cousin, and the EIS was approved two months later, the very day that national elections swept the Socialists and Minister Socrates from government.

Separate allegations refer to payments to Socrates' mother as well. ¶5. (C)

The original allegations were developed by Portuguese authorities and shared with the London Police in August 2005.

The London Police then obtained and shared with Portuguese authorities a clandestine March 2006 video of Charles Smith, of Smith & Pedro, discussing the payment of bribes to Socrates' cousin.

British and Portuguese law enforcement are reportedly cooperating effectively on the case (which may be a positive consequence of the fumbled high-profile investigation into the disappearance of British child Maddie McCann in Portugal in 2007). more