At the end of 2019, the Portuguese military network that smuggled diamonds, gold, and drugs from the Central African Republic was detected by the chiefs.
Samuel, an interpreter who worked for Portuguese troops on a UN mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) called into question the diamond, gold, and drug trafficking network led by the Paulo Nazaré command.
Samuel, who was initially an accomplice of the scheme, receiving 20% of commissions for the sale of diamonds for bridging the gap between local diamond suppliers and the Portuguese, ended up feeling disadvantaged in one of the deals, and in early 2020 he ended up reporting everything to the Police Military Judiciary, leading to the beginning of Operation Miríade of the Judiciary Police, which made eleven detainees, including military personnel, former soldiers, a GNR soldier in training, a member of the Lisbon PSP and a lawyer.
The information, already advanced by the newspapers “Inevitável” and “Público”, was confirmed to Expresso by a judicial source. The interpreter was employed by the United Nations, which also opened an investigation into the case.
As for the leader of the illegal business, Paulo Nazaré, he was preparing to flee to South Africa, as reported by “Jornal de Notícias”. The PJ inspectors arrested him on Monday morning and the main defendant in the case ended up unable to escape.
Paulo Nazaré is in command and will have started the scheme when he was in one of the first Portuguese missions at the service of the United Nations in that African country, between 2017 and 2018.
The eleven detainees in the case, which involves a further 60 people and 40 companies that were used to launder the money of the international business, have been interrogated since Tuesday by judge Carlos Alexandre at the Criminal Investigation Court in Lisbon.
The scheme started in CAR, involving local suppliers of diamonds, gold, and drugs, material that was trafficked in military aircraft that are not subject to the control of airport authorities. Afterward, everything was sold in Northern Europe, namely in Antwerp, Belgium.
ALERT IN 2019 (BUT PRESIDENT MARCELO WAS NOT INFORMED)
In December 2019, the commander of the 6th National Force Detached in the RCA advised the General Staff of the Armed Forces about what was happening. The Military Judiciary Police was activated but the Public Ministry quickly placed the investigation in the hands of the Civil Judiciary Police.
Defense Minister João Gomes Cravinho said he was aware of the case at that time, having alerted the United Nations at the beginning of the following year.
The President of the Republic, who is by nature the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, was not informed. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa revealed that the defense minister “explained” to him this Tuesday that “at that time [early 2020] he communicated to the United Nations, because it was a United Nations force, that there were suspicions regarding a case in a judicial investigation, and that, on the basis of legal opinions, it had been understood that there should be no communication to other bodies, namely sovereign bodies, the Presidency of the Republic or Parliament”.
The day before, the head of state, on a visit to Cape Verde, had considered that the investigation “does not in the least affect the prestige of the Armed Forces”. “On the contrary”, maintained the President of the Republic in statements to RTP: the fact that the Armed Forces investigate “isolated cases that may have occurred” and that they have taken “this initiative” “only gives them prestige in international terms”. This time, Marcelo made an exception, since “usually, in the foreign territory”, he does not comment on the Portuguese situation. “But here it is a situation of international projection, of the prestige of the Armed Forces, namely in an intervention in this continent, the African continent”, he justified.
“The idea is to take the investigations as far as possible to find out what is going on, to confirm that they are isolated cases, as, at first sight, some people understand that they are”, he said. As isolated cases, these “do not affect our Armed Forces in terms of generalization and prestige, which is unscathed”. A prestige that the President said was “exactly the same” that he witnessed in March 2018, when he was in the Central African Republic. However, the complaint takes place after his visit to the country, dating from December 2019.
Source: with agencies