Saturday, 18 December 2010
A DEBT OF (DIS)HONOUR.
In October 2009, after the McCanns filed a libel suit against Amaral, the Portuguese authorities took a much closer look at his finances, with a view to freezing any assets in lieu of any potential payout. What they discovered came as something of a surprise to many of us on the Madeleine supporters side of the internet. Amaral was in debt. DEEPLY in debt in fact, to the tune of half a million Euros. This is how the news broke, in the Portuguese press, Expresso, one of the most respected of their newspapers.
JUSTICE TAKES JAGUAR FROM GONÇALO AMARAL.
Court keeps with Jaguar of Gonçalo Amaral. Copyright and share of the former inspector of PJ at the company he created were also arrested. The Civil Court of Lisbon, who, this week ordered the arrest of the copyright of the book of Gonçalo Amaral, about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, a also the documentary which follow it, considers that the member company created by the former coordinator of PJ cannot produce, and remove the proceeds to him personally for the sales of books and videos. Therefore, following the claim from the McCann family, decided through a trial process, arrested also the share of Amaral in the company, a third of his salary as a manager and even the jaguar he drives - but that belongs to the firm. The car, with a displacement of 2700 cc and with a price of around 70 thousand euros new, was purchased in May and registered in the name of the society Gonçalo Amaral Ltd, with a social capital of 5000 euros. The company, created in November last year, offers consultancy, studies and analysis in the field of criminal investigation and is specialized in the dissemination, promotion and communication of technical work. The notifications to the publishers who published the book "Maddie - the truth of lies" - followed at the beginning of last week to several European countries: Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Spain and France. The publisher Guerra & Paz "War & Peace" (which published the book in Portugal), (owner of Correio da Manhã, where Amaral has a weekly columnist), the Valentim de Carvalho and TVI were also notified of the arrest of the copyright are due to the former coordinator of PJ until a final decision on the ongoing process. Contacted by the Expresso newspaper, Gonçalo Amaral declined to make any comment on the decision of the Civil Court, referring to its position to a press release issued on Wednesday. In that document, Amaral "fears to get prevented to defend his reasons in court and admits constraints related to his own defense". Kate and Gerry McCann, who were considered "arguidos" during the process of investigation, and their three minor children. S***, A***** and Madeleine, are the applicants of the ongoing process in court. They require to the former inspector, a compensation of 1.2 million euros by defamation, due to claims "continued and blatant" about the investigation of their case in 2007. However, according to the assessment made by the Court, the assets of Amaral does not offer sufficient guarantees for the payment in case of conviction.
The house of Olhão which he bought together with his wife in 2002, with a loan from the BIC, but it is only registered in his wife´s name - was arrested in 2005 due to a debt of around 130 thousand euros. A year later, the National Treasury recorded the seize of a house as a guarantee of payment of 16900 euros. Finally, two years ago, was the BES (to whom now BIC belongs) to go forward with a executive action against Amaral and his wife, for the recovery of more than 300 thousand euros - new seized.
The book "Maddie- the truth of lies" was launched in July 2008 and, until the end of September, has 12 editions - in other words - 120 thousand books. However, in September, also, by Court decision, the book´s sales had already been banned. Gonçalo Amaral retired from PJ in July last year, after 26 years of service. At the time, he said he went out to have "full freedom of expression", after having been sacked, months before the investigation of the disappearance of the British child, due to statements made to the media. Currently, Amaral receives a pension for early retirement of 2039 euros. The inquiry was shelved in July 2008, without being cleared any responsability of the parents of the British child of three years old who disappeared at May three of 2007, at Praia da Luz. The couple McCann was cleared, and the "arguido status" removed.
The translation is a little hard to follow, so I will endeavour to encapsulate. The crucial part of the report is in bold in the text above. Back in 2002, FIVE YEARS before the McCanns made their ill fated trip to Portugal, even, in fact, before Madeleine was born, Amaral and his wife bought a new house. Though it was bought jointly, as stated, the house was registered only in his wife’s name. This house was bought on the strength of a loan. But within a space of three years Amaral had ALREADY notched up a debt of 130,000 Euros, (£110,100) for defaulting on this loan. Then, the following year, the Portuguese National Treasury put in a seizure on the house as a guarantee for the non-payment of tax to the tune of 16,900 Euros, (£14,313.) Finally, to cap it all, the main company holding the loan company that loaned the Amarals their funds to buy the house demanded repayment of a debt of more then 300,000 Euros, (Over £254,000) That, my friends, amounts to a staggering total of 446,000 Euros, or over £380,000. And ALL of it from a time before Amaral had ever even heard of the name McCann.
Numerous questions spring to mind. Why, if the house was bought jointly, was it only registered on his wife’s name? Was any background check into his credit history carried out? How did he run up such a massive debt so quickly? If he wasn’t paying his mortgage what WAS he spending his money on? Was he already being blackmailed by someone, to keep him quiet, about something as yet unknown? That last IS a fair question, though we must stress we are not alleging anything by it. What surprises us most though, is that, when the royalties from his book began to roll in, he seems to have made no effort to pay off these debts. Why?
Being in debt is nothing new, nor that unusual. Many business men acquire debts, through various reasons. But a senior police chief HAS to be more circumspect, more judicious, because he is in a public office, and MUST be seen to be squeaky clean and above board. By running up these debts he has put himself in a damn stupid position, leaving himself open to accusations of, and even actual bribery and or blackmail.
This is not a good look for a man in his position.