The president of Portuguese club Toulouse suspected of embezzlement

On February 10, a day after his offices were searched, Toulouse lawyer Victor Lima was indicted with “breach of trust”, “money laundering” and “forgery and use of forgery” as president of the Portuguese Association. Toulouse Club. His participation in the sale of the historic headquarters of the Portuguese club in the Pink City, which was used to finance the purchase of a building located in the elegant suburbs of Lisbon, does justice. It was placed under judicial supervision.

Petit retour en arrière : L’association du club portugais de Toulouse est créée le 4 October 1965. Son but est de « grouper les Portugais désireux de resserrer les liens qui les unissent par le développement de la du sportté et solidé active”. At that time, the Portuguese community was very active in Ville Rose. Today, its 80,000 members still live in the former Midi-Pyrenees. In 1988, the association bought a building that it had been renting for nearly ten years for 380,000 francs ( 58 thousand euros) and is located at 10 Rue du Quai de Tunis near the church of La Dalbad. Many Portuguese from the city have put their hands in their pockets to invest in this meeting place. Thanks to its bar, its restaurant and the parties organized there, it has been running at full speed for more than ten years.

controversial sale

At the turn of the 2000s, the dynamic ran out: fewer members, fewer parties, and therefore less income. The Portuguese club Toulouse accumulates debts. It is in this context that Victor Lima plays his part. His status as a lawyer immediately gives him a certain legitimacy to impose order on the association, particularly financially. He was elected president in June 2014, and presided over the board of directors when the decision was made, on October 23, 2015, to sell the historic Quai de Tounis building for €450,000. Amazement among some members of the community.

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Over the following months, several insisted on the president to find out the terms of the sale and learn more about the financial investment that resulted from this deal. without result. On September 20, 2016, “a group of Portuguese workers from the Portuguese community in Toulouse and club members” sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities, with a copy to the Consulate General of Bordeaux and the Deputy. Toulouse Consulate: “Without affiliation, without address and without place, we would like to inform you of the physical disappearance of our association building, the property of the Portuguese community in Toulouse.” They deplore the deceptive sale decided by a “restricted meeting that was held without the knowledge of most members”. They will not get an explanation.

The case does not stop at this unexpected sale. On July 8, 2017, during a public meeting, the association was to instruct its president to invest part of the money from the sale of the historic headquarters in the purchase of a building in Queloz. This city located on the outskirts of Lisbon is very popular among tourists for its famous royal palace. Five weeks later, on August 16, 2017, the purchase of a building of four three-room apartments and two two-room apartments was completed. So the members of the Portuguese community in Toulouse have a place to meet again. However, it is located 1,300 km from the city in which they reside…

A ‘Great Opportunity’ for the Association

Here again, it is impossible to find out who, with the exception of President Lima, certified this amazing operation. There are no general meeting minutes available. There is no detailed list of the members present that day, either… “It is very complicated to find out who was a member of the association at that time, recalls a former member, preferring to remain anonymous. Those who wanted to renew our card or join the club were unsuccessful.” Others were subjected to a check whose membership was rejected without reason. Even the former presidents who, according to the statute, were life members of the association did not pass.”

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Victor Lima did not want to answer our questions. But in an interview with the French-Portuguese newspaper, Oh Luso JournalOn October 13, 2017, he justified the interest in this real estate transaction. “We had the opportunity to buy a six-apartment building in Portugal and we could not miss this opportunity. With the money from the sale, we paid off our debts and we had the money left to buy this building. It was a great opportunity for the association,” said the lawyer.

“Yes, we are angry, but above all we are ashamed.”

Among the former members of the club, initial stupor gave way to anger. “The impression that still prevails today is that our headquarters was taken from us by a member of our community, who kept the money from the sale to invest in real estate. Yes, we are angry, but above all we are ashamed,” admitted a longtime club member, who asked to remain anonymous. .

On 5 October 2017, a report was submitted to the Public Prosecutor of Toulouse informing him of “disturbing facts” regarding the exclusion of members of the Portuguese club Toulouse and the purchase of the building in Portugal. On 7 December 2017, two former members, joined at the time by the Portuguese Vice-Consul in Toulouse, arrested the judge in the chambers of the Toulouse Grand Court of First Instance for their demand to “declare the invalidity of the General Assembly of Portugal” July 8, 2017 “as well as the “invalidity of approved resolutions”, no Particularly those which “tend to have a building in Portugal taken over by the Assembly”.

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On January 16, 2018, a chamber judge dismissed the complaint. He considers that he is not qualified to rule on this case, which must be considered by the court on the merits. The two members, like the vice consul, threw in the towel. However, the investigation was not closed. A judicial investigation was opened in November 2018 at the request of the public prosecutor’s office in Toulouse, which led to the appointment of an investigative judge. Four years later, the instructions run their course.

Some of the protagonists of this cause died; Others became dumb. As for the ten or so members of the Portuguese community who agreed to answer the phone or meet us, it was with a prior promise not to be named. Paulo Santos, former deputy consul of Portugal in Toulouse, did not respond to our calls. No more than Victor Lima, the president of the Portuguese club in Toulouse, with whom we tried to communicate by phone and email.

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About the Author: Germano Álvares

"Desbravador de cerveja apaixonado. Álcool alcoólico incurável. Geek de bacon. Viciado em web em geral."

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