Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Trial of Angola's Former Vice President Begins in Portugal
2018/1/23 7:50:39

The corruption trial of Manuel Vicente, the former vice-president of Angola, began in Lisbon on Monday, with the case immediately being split in two.

Vicente is one of six people standing trial as part of an investigation known as "Operation Fizz". The court agreed to an appeal to separate Vicente's case from the others.

Vicente's lawyer, Rui Patricio, told the Lusa Portuguese News Agency that he was "satisfied" with the decision, describing it as "inevitable".

However, Vicente will still not be extradited. Angola wants to try Vicente itself, but Portugal's Public Prosecution Service fears Vicente will be granted diplomatic immunity.

Angola's president, Joao Lourenco, has called Portugal's refusal to extradite Vicente "offensive". The trial has thus become as much about Portuguese-Angolan relations as Vicente's alleged misdemeanors.

Vicente, the former CEO of Sonangol, Angola's state oil company, is accused of paying bribes in 2013 to Portugal's then public prosecutor, Orlando Figueira, to halt two fraud inquiries.

Figueira, who is also on trial, began his testimony by saying he had never even met Vicente before, local media reported.

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