Archive for November, 2014

National Director of SEF and 10 others detained in “Golden Visa” corruption investigation

Friday, November 14th, 2014

LISBON (Reuters) – The Judicial Police have arrested the National Director of SEF immigration and border service,  the Secretary-General of the Justice Ministry and the head of National Notary and Registry Institute and eight others as part of an investigation into corruption linked to the issuing of so-called “golden visas” to wealthy foreign investors. They will appear before an investigating judge today (Friday 14th November 2014)

Searches were also taking place at the Environment Ministry on Thursday evening. There were also unconfirmed reports that the Minister of Home Affairs, Miguel Macedo, had been spoken to by police detectives.

Macedo’s law firm had earlier Thursday been visited by detectives.

Opposition parties have already called on the Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas, who has taken charge of this visa programme to appear before parliament.

A statement issued by PJ police said a total of 200 detectives were called in for this operation which spanned the length of the country. Police added that today’s crackdown is the result of an investigation which has been ongoing for several months.

The Prosecutor General’s office said several arrests were made and searches carried out in different locations across Portugal as part of the investigation into the visas and other matters on suspicion of corruption, influence peddling and money-laundering. The prosecutor’s office said there were 60 raids ongoing nationwide and that several arrest warrants had been issued.

The official Lusa news agency said Manuel Palos, head of the SEF immigration service, was one of those detained and SEF premises were searched. A police source, who did not want to be identified, confirmed the detention to Reuters but would not say if Palos was being charged with any crime.

The golden visa program was launched by the government in late 2012 during a debt crisis and gave residency permits to non-EU citizens who invested in real estate. It has brought in more than one billion euros in much-needed investment since, mainly from Chinese buyers of property willing to invest more than 500,000 euros ($623,300) in real estate in Portugal

GNR – “Alcohol and Drugs in the School Community” Seminar

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

On 12th November GNR Sintra, held a seminar with the theme “Alcohol and Drugs in the School Community”, at the Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval, Sintra.

The seminar was attended by about 730 students, between 10 and 18 years old, from schools to the Sintra area (where the GNR are responsible) together with various authorities involved in the matters under discussion. The intention of the workshop was to warn young people about the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol and drugs, as well as strengthen ties between the GNR and the school community. 

Apart from the GNR, several experts in these issues, including the Service Behaviors Intervention in Additives and the Dependencies (SICAD) through the Commission for Deterring Drug Addiction (CDT) in the district of Lisbon, participated.

Lagos – Foreigner arrested by PSP following a theft from vehicle.

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

On 8th November a foreigner aged 20 years was arrested by the PSP in Lagos in connection with a theft from a vehicle.

At around 0900 hrs the man who was inside the car, was surprised by the owner, a woman aged 32 years. Upon asking him what he was doing, the man replied that he had entered the car to seek shelter from the rain! However he then fled taking with him a keyring and a small amount of cash. Reportedly around $500 worth of damage was caused to the car.

Albufeira – person accused of 27 robberies of women and tourists in court

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

On 10th November Hugo Goncalves known as “O Solhitario” aged 31 years appeared in court in Albufeira accused of 27 robberies dating from July 2013.

The robberies first took place in Albufeira but also involved others in Portimao. All the victims were women including tourists. Goncalves allegedly approached the women and threatened them with a pistol (which was later found to be a replica). The investigation was initially undertaken by GNR Albufeira but was transferred to the Judicial Police as a firearm was involved.

Another three men have been charged with receiving stolen goods. Goncalves entered a plea of not guilty.

The trial continues.

Global Action against “Dark Markets” on TOR hidden websites.

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Europol has reported that on 6 November, law enforcement and judicial agencies around the globe undertook a joint action against dark markets running as hidden services on Tor* network. 16 European countries,** alongside counterparts from the United States, brought down several marketplaces as part of a unified international action from Europol’s operational coordination centre in The Hague.

The action aimed to stop the sale, distribution and promotion of illegal and harmful items, including weapons and drugs, which were being sold on online ‘dark’ marketplaces. Operation Onymous, coordinated by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the FBI, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Eurojust, resulted in 17 arrests of vendors and administrators running these online marketplaces and more than 410 hidden services being taken down. In addition, bitcoins worth approximately USD 1 million, EUR 180 000 euro in cash, drugs, gold and silver were seized. The dark market Silk Road 2.0 was taken down by the FBI and the U.S. ICE HIS, and the operator was arrested.

The Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT), located at Europol’s headquarters, supported the operation. The J-CAT was created to serve as a platform for targeted operations against global criminal networks and infrastructure, carried out by EC3 and our colleagues in EU Member States and beyond.

“Today we have demonstrated that, together, we are able to efficiently remove vital criminal infrastructures that are supporting serious organised crime. And we are not ‘just’ removing these services from the open Internet; this time we have also hit services on the Darknet using Tor where, for a long time, criminals have considered themselves beyond reach. We can now show that they are neither invisible nor untouchable. The criminals can run but they can’t hide. And our work continues….”, says Troels Oerting, Head of EC3.

“Our efforts have disrupted a website that allows illicit black-market activities to evolve and expand, and provides a safe haven for illegal vices, such as weapons distribution, drug trafficking and murder-for-hire,” says Kumar Kibble, regional attaché for HSI in Germany.  “HSI will continue to work in partnership with Europol and its law enforcement partners around the world to hold criminals who use anonymous Internet software for illegal activities accountable for their actions.”

“Working closely with domestic and international law enforcement, the FBI and our partners have taken action to disrupt several websites dedicated to the buying and selling of illegal drugs and other unlawful goods. Combating cyber criminals remains a top priority for the FBI, and we continue to aggressively investigate, disrupt, and dismantle illicit networks that pose a threat in cyberspace”, says Robert Anderson, FBI Executive Assistant Director of the of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch.

* Tor, an acronym for The Onion Router, is a free network designed to anonymise your real Internet Protocol (IP) address by routing your traffic through many servers of the Tor network. Tor is used by a variety of people for both illicit and licit purposes, a fact that has also been acknowledged in the complaint against Ross William Ulbricht, accused of being the main administrator of the original Silk Road.

** Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Judicial Police seize 2000 kgs of hashish and detain five for drug trafficking

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

The Judicial Police Officers through the Board of South, and in collaboration with UDYCO Unit (drugs and organized crime) of Huelva, the National Police of Spain, detained five men and seized about 2000 Kgs of hashish and two vehicles.

The investigation between the two law enforcement authorities commenced two months ago. On 8th November a large cement vehicle crossed the International Bridge over the Rio Guardiana heading towards Tavira. It was followed by police to Cumenda near Tavira, where drugs were hidden in a property owned by an absentee foreigner. It is believed that owner may not have been aware of this. At the point where the drugs were being loaded onto the vehicle the police mounted the operation arresting all five persons involved.

The detainees are  aged between 58 and 30 years and include Romanian, Dutch and Spanish nationals.They have appeared in court for an application to be remanded in custody.

A further three suspects of Mor0can nationality have been arrested in Spain.

It is believed that the lorry would have returned to Spain with the drugs, for transportation to northern Europe. The Judicial Police have stated that they expect further arrests in connection with this investigation in order to neutralize the gang completely.

Judicial police arrest suspect for robbery resulting in death of victim

Friday, November 7th, 2014

The Judicial Police, through the Board of the South, identified and arrested a man for a crime of theft, which resulted in the death of the victim.

In mid-June, the arrested person entered the backyard of a house located at the Beringelinho, Castro Verde, intending to commit a robbery. At that time, he was surprised by the owner, whereupon he punch and kicked him. After he entered the house and seized money and gold objects.

Following the robbery the culprit fled to another area of the country. The victim, a man of 86 years old died at the end of June as a result of injuries sustained in the assault.

Following the course of investigation the suspect was located in the centre of the country, and was detained on 6th November.

The accused, aged 33 years, will appear at the appropriate judicial authorities for application to be remanded in custody

GNR Almancil arrest person for drug trafficking

Friday, November 7th, 2014

A GNR patrol from Almancil arrested during the morning of today, November 7, 2014, a Portuguese citizen aged 22 years old for drug trafficking.

During a patrol to combat crime in the locality Arneiro – in the border area between the municipalities of Loulé and Faro, the GNR located the individual in question who was walking in the street acting suspiciously.

On seeing the GNR officers the individual starting running and headed into an area of dense bush, trying to escape.

He was however caught and during subsequent steps taken, including house searches located nearby, sufficient pollen for 256 individual doses hashish, as well as other objects related to the cut and preparation of drugs plus a number of knives were discovered and seized.

Among objects seized were a grinding mill used for narcotics, a pipe and nine rounds of 5.56mm calibre ammunition.

Judicial police arrest foreigner for drug trafficking

Friday, November 7th, 2014

The Judicial Police, through the Department of Criminal Investigation of Portimão arrested a foreigner for drug trafficking.

During a crime prevention operation to combat drug trafficking carried out in Portimão, several individuals were identified one of them who had in his possession the equivalent of about 50 doses of hashish.

The accused, aged 20 years old, will be present to judicial authorities for remand-reporting conditions.

GNR Operation “Agrisegur”

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

From November and January 2015, the GNR will be mounting a national operation by patrolling and visiting farms, with the goal of preventing crime in general and, in particular, theft of agricultural products, the theft of copper and other base metals as well as trafficking in human beings. 

It is intended with this operation to conduct patrolling and enforcement actions so that the various agricultural campaigns are conducted in a secure environment, ensuring the protection of persons and property, whilst aiming to identify cases of human trafficking . Actions will include promoting further contact with rural communities, especially farmers, to warn them of prevention and protection against theft, especially theft of non-precious metals, and  the safe use of agricultural vehicles. 

This is undertaken at this time of the year (November-January), as farms carry out campaigns for harvesting, preparation, transport and processing for sale of agricultural products.