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Posted by portugalpress on November 05, 2018

Billed as an exclusive today is the tabloid ‘revelation’ that the judge picked to hear the country’s most complex trial into alleged corruption - where the star witness was once Portugal’s prime minister - is responsible for having let a suspected Brazilian arms dealer skip the country.

André Inácio Rozário appears to have left Portugal shortly after Judge Ivo Rosa refused a Public Ministry request to remand him in custody.

Police appealed the ruling, which was eventually overturned - but it was too late. Rozário had returned to Brazil - a country that rarely cedes to extradition requests, and doesn’t even have an extradition treaty with Portugal.

The 29-year-old was arrested, along with nine others, following a police operation led by the PJ’s counterterrorism unit.

He is accused of trafficking all manner of ‘prohibited firearms’ over the ‘dark web’ (the criminal arm of the internet, accessible only through the use of specific software, configurations or authorisations), as well as dealing in cocaine and hashish.

Says Correio da Manhã, Rozário was so bold about his business, he even managed to post a Kalashnikov to an address in Germany from a GLS outlet in Staples (Montijo).

His father is believed to have been an integral part of the network. It was the older man’s job to transform weapons at his workshop so that they could be used in robberies, heists and other crimes, says the paper.

But the relevance of the story is not to go over the minutiae of Operation Desarme - which is now going to trial without two critical defendants - but to shine a light on the decision-making process of the judge entrusted with a case that has taken over four years to build: the Marquês investigation, whose ‘star’ defendant is former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates.

Explains CM, Rosa “did not agree with the Public Ministry” when it contended that Rozário - by dint of his nationality and propensity for using aliases - posed a flight risk.

Rosa’s ruling was indeed overturned - but much too late to make any kind of difference.

Meantime, the instruction phase of Marquês is due to be heard “during the last three days” of every month until further notice (click here).

Again, a result may come much too late to make any kind of difference.