Ex-BES bank head’s defence want case closed due to Alzheimer’s

  • Lusa
  • 18 October 2021

"Ricardo Salgado has shown a progressive worsening of the cognitive and motor limitations," said a medical report signed last Tuesday by neurologist Joaquim Ferreira.

The defence of former banker Ricardo Salgado has requested the suspension of the case in which the former chairman of Banco Espírito Santo (BES) is a defendant, justifying it with a medical certificate proving the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

According to documents to which Lusa had access on Monday, the application, which was filed in court on October 14, confirms the “symptoms of progressive cognitive decline” already exposed in a previous application submitted in July and is now updated with additional tests conducted in recent months and a medical report signed last Tuesday by neurologist Joaquim Ferreira.

“Progressive and clinically relevant cognitive decline in multiple cognitive domains compatible with the diagnosis of dementia,” the request submitted by lawyers Francisco Proença de Carvalho and Adriano Squilacce reads.

The clinical specialist who has followed the former president of the Espírito Santo Group also maintains that “Ricardo Salgado has shown a progressive worsening of the cognitive and motor limitations described” since July 2021 and that “the clinical picture of cognitive and memory defect, limits his ability to make statements in full use of his cognitive faculties”.

Stressing that a context of stress or anxiety can lead to a worsening of the 77-year-old defendant’s state of health, the representatives of the former banker recall that, for criminal purposes, this pathology constitutes a psychic anomaly and reinforce that Ricardo Salgado’s ability to defend himself “is limited, which prevents him from exercising this rightfully” in court.

“If the restriction or limitation of his capacity stems from a psychic anomaly (for example, Alzheimer’s disease), then, in these cases, the process cannot continue, under penalty of violating the defendant’s right to defence”, the request states, reiterating: “In view of the proven psychic anomaly of Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosed in the defendant, (…) it is requested that you decide to suspend the present process”.

However, after referring to several examples of case law on this matter, Ricardo Salgado’s lawyers warn that if the court finds that the existence of the defendant’s psychic disorder does not determine the suspension of the case, then they request that “the supervening uselessness of the dispute be declared and, consequently, the case be closed”, due to the impossibility of the former banker defending himself.

In the last scenario, in which neither the suspension nor the closing of the case are determined by the court, the lawyers of the former president of GES argue that “in the limit, the execution of any prison sentence that would eventually be determined (…) would have to be immediately suspended” due to the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

After about a month’s interruption, Ricardo Salgado’s trial is scheduled to resume on Friday, October 22, with hearings of the last witnesses (Jean-Luc Schneider, Alain Rukavina and Ricardo Gaspar Rosado de Carvalho).

Ricardo Salgado responds in this trial for three crimes of abuse of trust, due to transfers of over €10 million in the context of Operation Marquês, from which this case was separated.