Twelve convictions, three acquittals. After more than six years of trial, the sentences on the BPN case are now known, and they go from suspended sentences to 14 years in prison.
“This was the largest fraud in the history of the Portuguese justice” ever sentenced until today. After almost seven hours of reading the sentence, this is how the judge Luís Ribeiro described the main proceeding of the BPN case (Banco Português de Negócios). The lawyers of those convicted have made public they will appeal the decision and it is likely the proceeding will continue for a few more years. Nonetheless, an important part of this process came to an end this Wednesday: 12 accused were convicted for their crimes withing the BPN case, three other were acquitted.
“Facts that constitute serious crimes have been proved”, stated Luís Ribeiro. “Those were not one-off crimes, they began in 2001 and went on for eight years”, states the judge, highlighting the severity of the crimes. During that time, those in charge kept from the Bank of Portugal and supervising entities “what was done in the Insular Bank [which, in fact, did not existed] and led to BPN’s ruin”.
We should highlight former BPN chairman José Oliveira Costa’s sentence: three years in prison for the crime of document forging; three years and three months in prison for the classified crime of tax fraud; seven and a half years in prison for the crime of classified fraud; five years in prison for the crime of money laundering. Oliveira Costa is, then, convicted to 14 years in jail.