Former Lisbon Court of Appeal judge Rui Rangel, a central figure in the corruption case known as Operation Lex, has been charged along with more than 16 people in connection with this investigation, confirmed this Friday the attorney general’s office. The woman, Fátima Galante, also a former judge of Relação, is also on the list of defendants, which also includes the former president of Relação de Lisboa, Luís Vaz das Neves. The PUBLIC knows that the president of Benfica, Luís Filipe Vieira, was also charged in this case and that the crime of improper reception of a benefit was attributed to him.
The prosecutions are under the responsibility of the deputy attorneys general responsible for the case, Maria José Morgado and Vítor Pinto, supported by two magistrates from the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action. Equally essential in this investigation was the national police anti-corruption unit.
At the center of this investigation are the illicit activities of Rui Rangel, who has set up a scheme to sell his influence in legal proceedings, with the support of several lawyers, sometimes a real influence and sometimes fictitious. The businessman José Veiga will have paid hundreds of thousands of euros to Rui Rangel to help him in certain legal proceedings, including a case of tax fraud in which he was convicted.
The president of Benfica, meanwhile, is suspected of having used Rangel’s alleged influence in an attempt to resolve a lawsuit brought by a company from his business universe pending before the Sintra Administrative and Tax Court. The stake was the challenge of 1.6 million additional euros required by Finance, in the form of capital gains. Luís Filipe Vieira will have paid for Rangel’s aid with tickets to the presidential bench in Luz, as well as trips and stays for the then magistrate to watch Benfica matches abroad.
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Fátima Galante, who has been separated from Rangel for more than a decade, is suspected of having written judgments signed by her husband and of having hidden funds which she would have known to have an illicit origin in accounts she maintained with him.
The case came to light on January 30, 2018, when five defendants in the process were arrested, including lawyer Santos Martins (who served as Rangel’s front line), his son, lawyer Jorge Barroso, a judge officer of the Relation of Lisbon and former companion of Rangel. In the following days, the PGR confirmed that the case had at the time 13 defendants, including Luís Filipe Vieira and his vice-president Fernando Tavares. The list of suspects also includes the former president of the Portuguese Football Federation João Rodrigues, and another companion of Rangel, in addition to the father of the ex-girlfriend who was arrested. During the investigation, five other defendants were formed, making a total of 18 people, including the former President of Relação, Vaz das Neves and the businessman José Veiga.
Operation Lex was born out of another investigation, known as Rota do Atlântico and whose central figure is businessman José Veiga, best known for his links with football, particularly in the intermediation of players. As part of this latest investigation, which is still under investigation, searches were carried out at the office of lawyer Santos Martins, a long-time friend of Rangel, who had received large sums of money from José Veiga through his only son. During the search, several documents were found which compromised Rui Rangel, namely several receipts of bank deposit made into the magistrate’s account and suspicious email exchanges.