Criminal network tried in Lisbon for imposing security services through violence

in World · 15-11-2018 10:00:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s Public Prosecutor has accused 24 defendants, including a police officer, a soldier and a psychologist, of belonging to a criminal network that used violence to impose security services in establishments in Lisbon, along the south bank of the Tagus and in the Algarve.

The trial started at 9.30am on Tuesday morning in Lisbon’s Central Criminal Court, involving charges of criminal association, hundreds of crimes of document forgery, coercion, extortion, possession of illegal weapons, mockery, physical harm, theft, drug trafficking, aggravated threat and unlawful exercise of private security.
According to the Public Prosecutor (MP)’s indictment, seen by Lusa News Agency, the two main defendants, one of whom was the manager of the defendant security company, created in 2009 “a structured and organised” group to provide security and surveillance services to nightlife establishments.
The aim, says the MP, was to extract economic dividends “resulting from the imposition of security services in various night-time establishments” while simultaneously “creating the appearance” of bouncer training, “without many of the trainees attending the courses or without them being effectively ministered”.
In spite of Sérgio Valério and Fernando Pereira’s “two-headed structure of group leadership”, it was the former who was “the preponderant element in the relationship with those who would be the true operatives of the group”.
Thus, the two elements “recruited a large number of individuals”, in particular, the majority of the defendants and other unidentified persons, all “known for their degree of operability and violence, to extend the group’s activities to other geographical areas”.
Each was given a distinct function and the duty of obedience to a hierarchy.

Throughout the indictment, a number of episodes of violence were described, which aim, on the one hand, to remove former bouncers from night venue establishments and, on the other hand, to compel owners to hire the defendants’ security services.
With the purpose of “granting apparent legality to the training courses that they intended to minister”, a PSP officer “joined the group”, as a “trainer of their private courses and to sign the certificates of attendance”.
The MP maintains that this police officer “played a fundamental role”, because he was responsible for signing all documents necessary to make the authority responsible for issuing bouncers’ cards (PSP) to falsely portray “that the individuals identified in those documents were trained and had been evaluated successfully”.
The police officer “was responsible for carrying out one of the main activities of the group, which consisted of the training of bouncers, which he carried out fraudulently, according to the organisation’s instructions and charged the payment of the inherent amounts”, the accusation points out.
The MP states that one of the defendants, who at the time was the manager of a company that provided occupational health and safety services, and the psychologist also accused, used the signatures of two doctors - one deceased and one no longer working in the company - and issued the candidates with clinical clearance certificates for the bouncers’ courses, without them having been examined.
The prosecution further points out that in establishments where “surveillance services” were imposed, the group sold drugs through a drug sales and distribution network and provided conditions for foreign nationals with whom they entered into employment contracts to engage in sex with customers in exchange for money.
During the criminal activity, the defendants spoke in code, referring to the drugs as “honey, minis, being in a good mood, water, kiss, clothing and plasma TVs”.
The PM adds that the network had firearms at their disposal whenever necessary.
“The group also had ‘patrol staff’ who would flag situations of trouble whenever there were clashes / disturbances in the establishments where they provided services, which allowed them to intervene with brawn, being perceived as true vigilantes of service”, the indictment reports.
The patrol was also required to visit the various establishments in order to oblige the owners to hire the services provided by the security company and / or to charge them if they had invoices in arrears.


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