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Madeleine McCann, the impending resignation of Gordon Brown, the alleged corruption of Portugal's Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, and what Charles Smith admitted in a secretly tape-recorded interview PLUS Det Supt Stuart Prior

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Madeleine McCann, the impending resignation of Gordon Brown, the alleged corruption of Portugal's Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, and what Charles Smith admitted in a secretly tape-recorded interview PLUS Det Supt Stuart Prior

Post by Tony Bennett on 23.11.14 17:51

So much to consider in this report dated 2 February 2009, filed by Frederico Duarte Carvalho, not least what was really discussed between Gordon Brown and the then Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, on 9 July 2007, just two months after Madeleine's reported disappearance.

Today we hear rumours of Gordon Brown's impending resignation.

A few days ago we learnt that Jose Socrates was being investigated for corruption.

Today we learnt that Special Branch had stopped British detectives from investigating the murders of boys by top British politicians.

Today Theresa May spoke on BBC's Andrew Marr Show to say that the child abuse scandals and murders of boys by the Westminster elite 'is only the tip of the iceberg'.

How are all these issues interconnected? 

[ The report is on the Maddie Case Files forum and thanks are due to them and to 'astro' for the translation - TB ]


English investigation of Sócrates coincided with the height of the McCann case and the negotiations of the Lisbon Treaty

Frederico Duarte Carvalho

The questioning of Charles Smith by English investigators took place eight days after the meeting of José Sócrates with Gordon Brown, during which the Lisbon Treaty and the McCann case were discussed.

The English rogatory letter from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which mentions the alleged meetings between José Sócrates and the heads of Freeport and of Smith & Pedro, reveals that the questioning of English witness Charles Smith, in England, on the 17th of July 2007, coincided with the height of the McCann case investigation in Portugal and the negotiations around the Lisbon Treaty.

The Freeport case had been an issue that had been mentioned in the Portuguese press during the campaign for the anticipated election in February 2005.

Weekly newspaper “Independente” published the first news in its edition on the 11th of February 2005 under the title “PJ investigates Sócrates’ decision”, alluding to the March 2002 licensing process of the outlet in Alcochete.             
The weekly would return to the subject one week later, on the 18th of February, under the title “Undeniable”, showing the copy of an alleged internal document with PJ suspects that contained José Sócrates’ name.  
Nevertheless, the case didn’t hurt the image of the then candidate to prime minister who, two days later, conquered the first absolute majority for the party that had been founded by Mário Soares, in 1973, in Germany.

According to the English letter that has now been made public, it has become known that a DVD in which the English intermediary, Charles Smith, confessed to giving money to the Minister of the Environment in 2002, José Sócrates, and which the prosecutor Cândida Almeida confessed during an interview to RTP that she didn’t even want to hear it – because she doesn’t consider it to be legal evidence – was recorded on the 3rd of March 2006, approximately one year after the story was made public in Portugal.

On that date, just three days remained until Cavaco Silva took up his post as President of the Republic and the ambience between Belém [president’s official residence] and S. Bento [prime minister’s official residence] didn’t foresee major disagreements.

The DVD was recorded without Charles Smith’s knowledge, but according to the dates that are mentioned in the SFO’s letter, he was only formally questioned in London on the 17th of July 2007, that is to say, two years after the first news in “O Independente” and one year after the DVD was recorded.

Despite Charles Smith’s apparent denials, it is evident that the English investigation cabinet – which depends directly from the British prime minister – thought that it could concentrate its energies on an investigation about the then Portuguese prime minister. And this is where the political-juridical attention becomes complicated.

On the 17th of July 2007, the relationship between Portugal and England was anything except peaceful. The Portuguese and the English presses shared a common interest: the case of the disappearance of the English girl from Praia da Luz, Madeleine McCann, which dragged on since the 3rd of May. Gordon Brown had replaced prime minister Tony Blair on the 27th of June, and eight days before the interrogation of Charles Smith at the SFO’s headquarters, on the 9th of July, José Sócrates met Gordon Brown in London at the British prime minister’s official residence, number 10 Downing Street.  
The conversation between them broached the subject of the European Union’s Portuguese presidency – which started on the 1st of July – and the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, our presidency’s major goal. For Sócrates, it was important to secure Brown’s signature, but for the latter it was equally important to solve the Madeleine McCann case which, it is recalled, counted on the personal and institutional support of the new British prime minister who had even made an important press advisor, Clarence Mitchell, available to accompany the McCann couple in the Algarve.

It is unknown until what point Gordon Brown was informed by his SFO – or even by Her Majesty’s secret services – about the suspicions that hung over our prime minister. And one can only speculate about to which degree such information may or may not have been used as “currency” in the political and judicial negotiations between Portugal and England.

What is a fact is that two weeks after the questioning of Charles Smith by the SFO, the McCanns’ life in Portugal became more difficult: the dogs that were sent from England detected traces of blood in the apartment in Praia da Luz where Madeleine McCann had disappeared from, as well as cadaver odour on the little girl’s mother’s clothes. The McCanns would end up being declared arguidos in early September 2007, and abandoned Portugal on the 9th of September.

When it seemed like the judicial investigation in Portugal against the English couple would lead to a formal accusation, suddenly, on the 2nd of October 2007, case coordinator Gonçalo Amaral is removed. The removal of the man who had always suspected the involvement of the McCann couple in their daughter’s disappearance, happened on the same day that Gordon Brown announced to Sócrates that he accepted to sign the Lisbon Treaty.  
Concerning the coincidence of his dismissal and the acceptance by Grodon Brown to sign the Lisbon Treaty, Gonçalo Amaral wrote, in his book “The Truth of The Lie”: “Deep down, it was the outcome of a defamation campaign in the Madeleine case, that had been orchestrated and developed by British media, almost from the moment that the investigation started.

The strategy was simple, one attacks the investigation, questioning its officers while simultaneously painting Portugal as a third world country, with an outdated judicial and police system, due to its near medieval methods. From the United Kingdom, other news arrived. The British prime minister had phoned Stuart Prior, the head of Leicestershire police, asking whether or not he could confirm the dismissal of the investigation’s operational coordinator. We don’t know why the English prime minister would show such interest in a humble Portuguese civil servant.

Nor do we wish to believe what was being said in the background of the Lisbon Treaty about the need to confirm the dismissal of the investigation’s operational coordinator before there was the will to sign said treaty. Rumour, surely, and nothing more.”

On the 19th of October, days after the removal of Gonçalo Amaral – which in practical terms “killed” the investigation of the McCanns – Sócrates celebrated the final agreement for the signing of the Lisbon Treaty with the main European leaders (it would be formally signed on the 13th of December). The celebration with Gordon Brown was notorious,
while the Portuguese Public Ministry had revealed its docility towards English citizens and the PJ had accepted to throw itself on the sword. 


The amazing symbiosis between bees and flowers:  

Tony Bennett

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Re: Madeleine McCann, the impending resignation of Gordon Brown, the alleged corruption of Portugal's Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, and what Charles Smith admitted in a secretly tape-recorded interview PLUS Det Supt Stuart Prior

Post by sallypelt on 23.11.14 19:26

Edited to say, part of this video is in English

Freeport hit the headlines some years back when it was involved in a bribery scandal around former environment minister José Sócrates and the building of the Alchochete shopping mall on environmentally-protected land.
Allegations were made, accusations thrown, and it all ended up in court. It's now on public record that some people accused the then environment minister, José Sócrates, of being corrupt.
Since then the mainstream Portuguese media largely has ignored this topic, which is strange, because Freeport is a perfect microcosm of what has been happening in not only Portugal, but in most countries across the world; large multinationals and private equity firms using political and financial leverage to persuade governments to grant access to land and other national resources. Result, the land (on which the Alcochete mall is built) is now owned by a private corporation when it used to belong to the Portuguese people.
Freeport was subsequently taken over by the Washington-based private equity firm The Carlyle Group (Carlyle) which is run by some of the greediest, most immoral people on the planet.
During the presidency of George W. Bush (2002-2009), there were many allegations that Bush literally was running the US's foreign policy so that his father (former president of the USA George H, W. Bush) and his buddies (James Baker III, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and too many others to mention) could benefit financially.
Both Bush Snr. and James Baker III were heavily involved with Carlyle which was significantly “investing” in companies that produce armaments, and had some very deep links to the Pentagon. Armies need armaments (and other necessary equipment), especially when they go to war (Afghanistan, Iraq?) It does not take a Stephen Hawking to join these dots together and understand why Carlyle was accused of using political connections to further its own financial interests.
Other people who have been associated (and still may be) with Carlyle have been the former prime minister of the UK John Major and convicted inside-trader, noted ‘philanthropist’ and self-appointed conscience of the world, George Soros. Soros' ‘conscience’ happily allowed him to steal billions from the Russian people during the Boris Yeltsin government in the 1990s.
What a philanthropist!
Carlyle's links to the Pentagon can be traced as one of its most important company officers, Frank Carlucci, was (and remains) good friends with former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld. This description in a book about Carlyle had this to say about Rumsfeld – ‘A former college roommate and wrestling teammate of Frank Carlucci, Rumsfeld and Carlucci are never far apart. The two followed each other through  the executive ranks of government, worked for Sears Roebuck together, and remain very close friends to this day.’ (written in 2003.)
Some would call this nepotism, especially when Carlyle got juicy defence contracts when Rumsfeld was at the centre of the Bush administration which took America (and Britain) into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But all this is ancient history. The last book I saw on Carlyle was written in 2003, ‘The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group’ by Dan Briody.
Since then things have changed quite bit. Bush has been replaced by Obama in the White House, other people have taken over key positions in the government, and it's unclear if Carlyle has the same access to the same political positions as it did under the Bush administration. Though one shouldn't assume it is any worse.
David Rubenstein, one of the company's three CEOs, is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. This says it all: Carlyle still has political clout.
The above is merely to explain what kind of people run Carlyle, the company which now owns and controls Freeport.
In the last few years Carlyle has expanded into the European retail and property market under its CEREP (Carlyle European Retail Estate Partners) companies, principally CEREP Investment I Sarl which is registered in Luxembourg. 
Freeport's main shareholder is CEREP UK Investment D GP Ltd, which is owned by CEREP Investment I Sarl – which is owned by Carlyle! Do you see how it all fits?  Thus Freeport is not simply run as a business; it's run to make profits for Carlyle's various investment funds and shareholders.
Since 2011 there have been some significant changes in the way Freeport has been run. Interestingly, this has been when Freeport's profits (though even that is questionable) turned into losses.
Then managing director Robert Hodges was all up-beat about Freeport's impressive economic performances (in his opinion) during trying times for the business community, while also revealing €94,000,000 in further funding. He also revealed that another company Freeport Retail Limited was being set up to ‘manage’ Freeport and some of the other CEREP-controlled companies.  Quite why another company was needed to ‘manage’ Freeport was not really explained. What is the purpose of CEREP Investment I Sarl if it is not to ‘manage’ Freeport?
This was roughly around the time I became interested in the company, in particular it's relationship with José Sócrates during the bribery scandal which was covered on one of Wikipedia's pages. Somewhat naively, I emailed Freeport's CEO, Iestyn Roberts, and asked him if he could put me in contact with Alan Perkins and Charles Smith – two former Freeport associates mentioned in the Wikipedia articles and also in several Portuguese newspapers during the trial.
Roberts' reaction was to label Charles Smith and Alan Perkins as unscrupulous and incompetent (his own words), that  he would in no way assist me in contacting them, and that Freeport's lawyers would  be looking closely at any articles (or books) that they would consider to be a  defamation of Freeport' - in other words - a veiled threat.
The last statement resulted in several angry emails between myself and Roberts, but I also managed to download several documents on the company, in particular the accounts, the annual return and some of the mortgage statements. Being a trained accountant I started to follow the breadcrumbs (or as accountants say, the audit trail) and noticed some alarming things in the company's accounts, in particular those of 2012, the last ones published.
Not only did the figures in the  notes to the accounts not agree to those in the balance sheet (they should), there was  also the question of Freeport being owed approximately £14.9m by its shareholder (CEREP UK Investment D GP Ltd), a company with no assets apart from an  insignificant £1,000 or so in the bank.
Subsequently, I wrote several articles in the Algarve Daily News, but also complained to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) as the accountants (Baker Tilly) who produced the accounts are members of this supposedly august organisation. The ICAEW considered the allegations serious enough to investigate the matter. Though, as it has no real serious teeth, nothing really was achieved. 
But possibly due to the articles in the Algarve Daily News and my complaints to the ICAEW, Freeport's company officers have started to act in a rather suspicious manner.

When I started writing about Freeport it had four directors (Iestyn Roberts, Robert Hodges, Eric Sasson and Hafiz Mohamed Ali) and one company secretary (Ian J. Brownstein). They have all now resigned and been replaced by an American, Matthew Lo Russo.
Hafiz Mohamed Ali was subsequently reappointed as director on the 18 September 2013, but resigned on the 26 February, 2014. So that leaves just one company officer from the original five. Matthew Lo Russo seems to be the main man representing Carlyle (see his profile on the company website).
However, the more worrying fact is that Freeport not only has failed to publish accounts this year (for 2013), it has also failed to produce accounts for CEREP UK Investment D GP Ltd. As Freeport is an unlimited company it does not actually have to publish accounts, though questions should be asked as to why they did so in previous years (I have copies of the 2011 and 2012 accounts).
However, CEREP UK Investment D GP Ltd does have to publish accounts (and other documents). At the time of writing the accounts were overdue from the 31 March, while the annual return, being due on the 2 May, was now also outstanding. I have complained to Companies House, but it is close to toothless.
Another interesting fact is that Matthew Lo Russo also was recently appointed as a director of Freeport Retail  Limited, clearly to replace Hodges and Sasson, who were representing CEREP  Investment I Sarl's, in other words Carlyle’s, interest in the company. Lo Russo (along with Hafiz Mohamed Ali) is also a director of CEREP UK Investment D GP Ltd. So essentially it's his job to make sure that the accounts are filed on time (not over a month later) as well as other documents like annual returns.
According to the last accounts I saw (2012), the only amounts on the balance sheet was the £14.9m loan from Freeport and a bank balance of £1,018.  How long does it take to produce accounts with only two entries on the balance sheet (and not even a profit and loss statement)? And while CEREP UK Investment  D GP Ltd does have to publish Freeport's profits (or losses in the last two  accounts), given that the both companies has the same year-end date, why the  extended wait?
What are these people doing?
Whatever amount Matthew Lo Russo is paid it's clearly too much as he seems completely incapable of filing a simple set of accounts (and other required documents) on time. Furthermore, we need to ask where the €94,000,000 mortgage (which Freeport acquired on the 20 September 2011) has gone to as it wasn't on the 2012 accounts.
With regards to Iestyn Roberts' comments about Charles Smith and Alan Perkins being unscrupulous and  incompetent, it seems these descriptions would equally apply to Freeport's company officers and its colluding accountants (Baker Tilly), in particular the  audit senior John Bennett who prepared both Freeport's and CEREP UK Investment D  GP Ltd's accounts.
The main concern is here is that Carlyle and the people they associate with, like most major multinationals, are taking the Portuguese (and the Greeks, Irish, Spanish and few others) for idiots. They clearly think that they don't have to abide by the same rules as everyone else and happily use all manner of artificial schemes to avoid paying taxes, and thus funding future projects.
A spokesperson for the Troika (European Commission, ECB and IMF) commented on Portugal's supposedly improving economic situation and the plan to exit the austerity programme this month. But, he added, there could be no complacency and many changes still had to be made for Portugal again to have a ‘competitive’ economy. He said: “This will require a decisive break with the past and a commitment to profound and lasting changes.”
I couldn't agree more. What better way to demonstrate a “decisive break with the past” than shutting down the needless Disneyland-style shopping centre (Alcochete) and kicking out Freeport and its corrupt Carlyle buddies.
Then the land should be given back to the Portuguese people.
Maybe we could also have politicians who want to serve the country, not its international money-masters (EC, ECB and the IMF). These would be “profound and lasting changes” most of the Portuguese people would agree with. 


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Re: Madeleine McCann, the impending resignation of Gordon Brown, the alleged corruption of Portugal's Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, and what Charles Smith admitted in a secretly tape-recorded interview PLUS Det Supt Stuart Prior

Post by Realist on 25.11.14 16:25

@Tony Bennett wrote:

The strategy was simple, one attacks the investigation, questioning its officers while simultaneously painting Portugal as a third world country, with an outdated judicial and police system, due to its near medieval methods. 


A tad rich coming from the media and citizens of the country that has the most corrupt police force and Orwellian justice system in western civilised society. A country where just about everything is illegal with what little isn't, cost prohibitive.

A country where even the dank, miserable weather is in harmony with the oppressive regime and depressing tabloid led culture. Hardly surpring the UK consists of a nation plagued by drug and alcohol problems.


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