On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Angola began the trial against the case known as "Thai derision", an alleged attempt by the Angolan state to mock 50 billion dollars, and the defense demanded the acquittal of the defendants .
The rehearsal session, which includes four Thais, four Angolans, one Eritrean and one Canadian, began at 9.45 am local time (less than one hour in Lisbon) and lasted more than five hours. Speaking to the press at the end of the session, the judge's spokesperson, Lourenço José, said that the trial was "as calm as possible".
"Today we read the main parts, the indictment, the indictment and the challenge of the accused and are very long pieces, which have consumed almost all the time," said Judge Lourenço José, informing that the session continues on Friday, with the hearing of two defendants.
At the headquarters of the Supreme Court of Luanda, Thai citizens, Raveeroj Ritchoteanan, Manin Wanitchanon, Monthita Pribwai and Theera Buapeng, all in custody since February 2018, the Angolan Ernesto Norberto Garcia, José Arsénio Manuel, both in Celeste de Brito António and Cristian de Lemos, both arrested about a year ago, the Eritrean Million Isaac Haile, also detained him almost a year ago, and the Canadian André Louis Roy, who responds freely.
In their defense, the defendants' representatives have asked for absolution from their constituents, supporting their innocence. According to the accusation, the case dates back to 2017, when a delegation of ten people, with a border visa, arrived in Luanda through the re-election Celeste de Brito António, who in the indictment is presented as the mentor of the Thai Citizens in Angola.
Up for grabs is an alleged attempt to evade the Angolan state in $ 50 billion (43.5 billion) thesis contested by the defense, claiming that it was a private investment initiative, not taking into ride the prank to the state. According to the defense, in private investments the State is not part of the relationship in question, but acts only as a regulator of this relationship, taking into account the public interest at the base of private investment projects and pay attention to tax incentives, customs and other facilities for people.
"The Angolan state has never received requests for monetary amounts from investors … nor has an agreement been reached between them to solicit money from the Angolan state," said Sérgio Raimundo, defense lawyer for André Louis Roy. The lawyer reinforced the thesis with "the fact that the President of the Republic came to the public through an interview … confirming that in September 2017, when he took the lead, he found the coffers empty (. ..) that as far as the defendants had acted with the intention and the mastery of defrauding the State of the value in question, this result would never be verified, because the Angolan State had and does not have this value ".
The defendants were pronounced for committing crimes of criminal association, fabrication and falsification of debt securities, falsification of documents and use of false documents, deception with fraud in the frustrated form, promotion and aid to illegal immigration and influence on the sale walking.
The day the defendants arrived in Angola, according to the accusation, a meeting was held at the headquarters of the Technical Unit for Private Investment (UTIP), directed by the defendant Norberto Garcia, also formerly Secretary of Information MPLA, government party, for the presentation of Thai businessmen to Angolan counterparts. At the time, Raveeroj Ritchoteanan exhibited a check for $ 50 billion, which a bank in the Philippines did not confirm its authenticity.
The former Chief of Staff of the Angolan Armed Forces, Geraldo Sachipengo Nunda, initially set up as a defendant, was authorized and filed acts, due to lack of sufficient evidence.
38 respondents were listed at the trial, including the former Angolan police chief, Alfredo Mingas "Panda", former director of the Investment and Export Promotion Agency (APIEX), Belarmino Van-Dúnem , former General Commander of the National Police, José Alfredo "Ekuikui", Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Business Bank (BNI), Mário Palhares, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) ), Francisca de Brito, among others.