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Judicial Police on the War Path

Yesterday Judicial Police officers raided the offices of SDM – Sociedade de Desenvolvimento da Madeira- at Rua da Mouraria in Funchal, as part of an ongoing investigation of the International Business Centre of Madeira (IBC). Although officers were seen to be coming and going all day, in what was considered a ‘discreet’ manner, it didn’t prevent local newspaper JM challenging the SDM management, who manage the IBC, about the official inspection from the Judicial Police.  As such, the SDM issued a statement saying:  ” The SDM – Sociedade de Desenvolvimento da Madeira, SA (SDM) – confirms that it has been the subject of a judicial procedure, at its headquarters in Funchal, as authorised by the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP).” The statement went on to say that, “the SDM is totally co-operating fully with the authorities in this matter.”

In the short three paragraph statement the SDM reaffirmed its transparent conduct in all the acts performed by itself and considers the ongoing investigation as an excellent opportunity to conclude on the legality and good faith with which SDM has always acted, and which led to their award of the concession to manage the International Business Centre of Madeira.”

But it wasn’t just the SDM that received a knock at the door.  Officers of the Public Ministry visited the Regional Vice-Presidents office, seizing documentation relating to the concession of the International Business Centre of Madeira – the so-called Zona Franca – to the Pestana Group.

According to media outlet Expresso, the magistrates requested that all decisions taken by the Regional Government on the subject since 1987, when both the International Business Centre and the SDM were created, and whose shareholders are the Regional Government and the Pestana Group. 

This information was confirmed by the President of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, who stated that he could not say more as details of the case cannot be released, although Expresso seemed to know what was happening.

The current searches carried out in the context of case 455 / 19. OT9FNC, are also related to the investigation over Miguel Albuquerque’s sale of his Quinta do Arco Rose Garden in 2017 to the Pestana Group. 


Samantha Gannon
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