Fraud and white-collar crime in Portugal

Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados

Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados has one of Portugal's strongest practices in white-collar criminal law, showcasing an impressive track record in criminal litigation; the group has represented clients in some of the most high-profile criminal cases in the country. Its service offering covers issues of corruption, money laundering, bribery and insider trading across a variety of industry sectors, notably banking and financial services, telecoms, construction and distribution. Department head Rui Patrício counts several banks, companies and politicians among his client base; he is noted for leading advice on challenging criminal proceedings involving more than one jurisdiction. Regulatory litigation and compliance in the data protection space are areas of particular focus for Tiago Félix da Costa, while João Matos Viana regularly advises on matters involving the banking, securities, competition and insurance sectors. Tiago Geraldo is a key associate in the team.

Practice head(s):

Rui Patrício

Other key lawyers:

Tiago Félix da Costa; João Matos Viana; Tiago Geraldo; João Lima Cluny


‘The team led by Rui Patrício is impeccable in availability, both in terms of the readiness of the answer and in terms of the answer itself. No questions are left unanswered.’

‘Rui Patrício is tireless and insatiable in the search of solutions for his clients, he never fails to answer a phone call, answer a message or email.’

‘The firm includes lawyers with a very client-oriented profile and who are aware of their business needs. From a technical point of view, they are certainly one of the best in the Portuguese market. ’

‘Tiago Félix da Costa is an excellent professional. In addition to solid technical knowledge, he has an enormous capacity for innovation and does not give up on finding out of the box solutions that, in fact, solve clients’ problems. He can quickly establish trusting relationships with clients. In the criminal area, he has everything that a lawyer in this area must have: trust, seriousness, pragmatism and also a very good relationship with all procedural stakeholders. He is a star in this area.’

Work highlights

  • Represents Benfica in the E-Toupeira case, in which the football club together with its legal counsel and two judicial clerks was accused by the Lisbon Department of Investigation of corruption.
  • Acting for a high-profile individual in an investigation conducted by the Central Department of Investigation in relation to the Operação Marquês case.
  • Representing an individual in a criminal procedure in which several defendants were allegedly implied in an international corruption and money laundering scheme.

Sérvulo & Associados

The corporate crime and regulatory compliance group at Sérvulo & Associados attracts high-profile mandates, which predominantly involve financial and corruption-related accusations. On the compliance front, the team advises clients on the structuring of programmes to prevent criminal practices, assess risks and avoid other administrative infringements. José Lobo Moutinho is one of the most prominent figures in the criminal law space in Portugal, having represented clients in high-profile cases and regulatory matters involving the banking, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and media sectors. He jointly leads the practice with Teresa Serra, whose extensive experience covers white-collar crime, compliance and arbitration. Other core members of the team include Cláudia Amorim and Ana de Brito Camacho.

Practice head(s):

José Lobo Moutinho; Teresa Serra

Other key lawyers:

Cláudia Amorim; Ana Brito Camacho


‘I recommend Ana Camacho and Teresa Serra. They are very organised and professional. They conduct an in-depth analysis of the theory and laws and apply well-founded, accurate, adequate and prudent conclusions to the specific case. They clearly and simply explain the risks of each situation and propose solutions.’

‘The team that has worked with us has proved to be very competent and well articulated with each other, endowed with high legal and procedural knowledge, evidencing the great professional experience they have. The exhaustive preparation that they undertake in relation to the different stages of the process stands out. They excel in court proceedings.’

‘José Moutinho has great management skills, critical sense, relevant experience and deep knowledge of the matters involved. Cláudia Amorim provides objective advice. The professionalism and proximity to the client makes the team stand out.’

Key clients


Secretaria Geral da Presidência da República Portuguesa

ANEPC (Emergency and Civil Protection National Authority)


Sporting Clube de Portugal – Futebol SAD

Tecniferti, S.A.

Cartágua – Águas do Cartaxo, S.A.

Libertas – Investimentos Imobiliários, S.A.

Lisaltur – Lisboa Algarve Turismo, S.A.


Work highlights

  • Currently representing the Emergency and Civil Protection National Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Emergência e Proteção Civil) in a criminal case (known as Operação Aldeia Segura) involving the investigation of fraud, economic participation in businesses and corruption.
  • Acting for Sporting Clube de Portugal – Futebol SAD in an important case (Operação Fora de Jogo), involving the major football clubs and football agents in Portugal.
  • Represents an individual in a criminal case which involves the investigation of the negotiation of contracts in the field of PPPs that allegedly had prejudiced the Portuguese state by more than €3bn.

Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho

One of the market leaders in the field of corporate crime proceedings, Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho's fraud and white-collar crime group is a segment of the wider dispute resolution practice. Highly sensitive cases involving corporate criminal liability feature highly on the team's portfolio; risk-management strategies, compliance issues and anti-corruption matters are other core aspects of the offering. Department leader Fernando Aguilar de Carvalho, whose specialisms include international and domestic arbitration, is often retained to advise on white-collar crime mandates. Francisco Proença de Carvalho is experienced in criminal cases involving the capital markets and financial services sectors, a field in which recently promoted Adriano Squilacce is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Fernando Aguilar de Carvalho

Other key lawyers:

Tito Arantes Fontes; Alexandre Mota Pinto; Francisco Proença de Carvalho; Adriano Squilacce

Work highlights

  • Acting as EOSA’s counsel in a major criminal case of fraud regarding national and EU subsidies.
  • Advising and representing Mr Ricardo Salgado in all criminal, civil and administrative claims related to Banco Espírito Santo (more than 130 cases).
  • Representing Caixa Económica Montepio Geral in infringement proceedings brought by the Bank of Portugal regarding an alleged breach of rules on compliance and the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing.


With a strong track record in high-profile criminal cases involving multiple jurisdictions, VdA is well equipped to assist clients in money-laundering investigations, as well as matters pertaining to fraud, embezzlement, forgery and bribery. Of particular note, the team has been extremely busy handling significant proceedings involving the football industry. The white-collar crime practice, which is part of the firm-wide dispute resolution group, is further prepared to assist clients with the increasing exposure to cybercrime as well as compliance issues. With almost three decades of experience in this field, co-head João Medeiros is well known for handling some of the most sensitive criminal cases in the country. Fellow co-leader Sofia Ribeiro Branco focuses on corporate crime and regulatory misdemeanour cases. Bruno Melo Alves is another practitioner to note for criminal litigation.

Practice head(s):

João Medeiros; Sofia Ribeiro Branco

Other key lawyers:

Bruno Melo Alves; Joana Bernardo; Rui Costa Pereira; Inês Almeida Costa

Key clients

EDP Group

Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN)

Doyen Sports Investment (DSI)

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Sport Lisboa e Benfica — Futebol, S.A.D.

Suez II Water Technologies & Solutions Portugal, Unipessoal, Lda.


Marítimo da Madeira Futebol – SAD

Work highlights

  • Advising two high-level executives and REN in an ongoing criminal investigation looking into the conduct of members of EDP Group, REN Group and the Portuguese government in the opening and liberalisation of the electricity and natural gas market during 2004 and 2014.
  • Assisting Doyen in the most well-known cybercrime investigation case related to the illegal disclosure of several contracts and information.
  • Assisting Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian as offended party in the criminal proceedings related to corruption and fraud to obtain subsidy to the reconstruction of buildings in the context of a fire in 2017.


With industrial groups, politicians and banking sector clients at the core of the group's client base, Cuatrecasas is regularly retained to assist with major white-collar crime cases in the country. Key areas of strength include proceedings which involve investigations or implications of corruption, bribery, money laundering and tax fraud. The administrative offences and corporate crime group based in Lisbon is also noted for advising corporate clients on the design and implementation of regulatory compliance and crime prevention strategies. Paulo de Sá e Cunha, whose experience covers high-profile multi-jurisdictional cases, leads the practice. Misdemeanour litigation and compliance issues, with a particular emphasis on the banking and finance sector, are areas of specialist interest for Miguel Pereira Coutinho.

Practice head(s):

Paulo de Sá e Cunha

Other key lawyers:

Miguel Pereira Coutinho

Key clients

Sporting Clube de Portugal

Zurich Insurance Group

Banco Espírito Santo (BES)



BMW Portugal

Credit Suisse


O Boticário





Work highlights

  • Acted as legal counsel to BES bank in pre-litigation and litigation matters that involve multiple legal issues, notably  regulatory and criminal concerns.
  • Advising Credit Suisse on criminal matters and internal investigations.
  • Assisting Sporting Club de Portugal, one of the three biggest sports clubs in Portugal, in several criminal proceedings.


The criminal law and compliance practice at PLMJ is particularly adept at assisting with preventative measures, evidenced by its strong performance in corporate investigations and compliance policies. The team has been extremely active in administrative and regulatory proceedings, but also possesses wide-ranging criminal litigation capabilities, having been involved in some of the most high-profile cases pertaining to white-collar crime. Practice head Paulo Farinha Alves is a seasoned practitioner in criminal proceedings involving the ports and financial services segments. Alexandra Mota Gomes left the firm in December 2020.

Practice head(s):

Paulo Farinha Alves

Other key lawyers:

Dirce Rente; José Maria Formosinho Sanchez

Key clients

Barclays Bank

Pernod Ricard Portugal

Ikea Industry Portugal

United Investments Portugal

Ascendi Pinhal Interior, Estradas do Pinhal Interior

SPAST-Sociedade Portuguesa de Aluguer e Serviço de Têxteis

Sidul Açucares


Somincor – Sociedade Mineira de Neves Corvo

Electrão – Associação Portuguesa de Gestão de Resíduos

Work highlights

  • Acting for Parvalorem in several criminal complaints that gave rise to numerous criminal cases, including allegations of malpractice in the administration of the bank in the period immediately subsequent to the nationalisation.
  • Advising Barclays Bank (Portugal) in the criminal case known as Operação Pharma.
  • Acting for Ascendi in a case relating to the forest fires of Pedrógão Grande, in June 2017, in which at least 63 people were killed.

Rogério Alves & Associados – Sociedade de Advogados, SP, RL

Boutique firm Rogério Alves & Associados – Sociedade de Advogados, SP, RL is a renowned player in the criminal law space, with an impressive background in white-collar criminal defence and litigation. The team stands out for its track record in major proceedings involving tax and banking-related fraud, government contracts, corruption and money laundering. Overseeing the department is Rogério Alves, who has a well-established reputation in this field, and financial regulatory infringements. Other practitioners to note include Bárbara Marinho e Pinto and André Matos Faria, who excels in criminal cases involving bank insolvencies.

Practice head(s):

Rogério Alves

Other key lawyers:

Bárbara Marinho e Pinto; André Matos Faria


High degree of specialisation, high ethical sense and strategic thinking. The team is exclusively focused on the client’s interest.’

‘Rogério Alves stands out for his high ethical sense, energetic defence of clients’ interests, and rationality in defining the strategy taking into account the circumstances of the case. He is very respected among colleagues and magistrates. He is a natural litigator, undoubtedly an excellent lawyer, particularly in matters of economic criminal law and administrative offenses.’

‘Rogério Alves is brilliant.’

Work highlights

  • Representing Gerry and Kate McCann in the investigation about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007.

Abreu Advogados

Abreu Advogados' criminal law, sanctions and compliance group is well equipped to provide specialist legal responses to some of the most complex criminal cases and administrative offences. Issues pertaining to money laundering, embezzlement, tax fraud, corruption and cybercrime are all core areas of focus for the team, which also advises on the implementation of compliance programmes and crisis management. Francisco Patrício, who has extensive experience in handling white-collar criminal cases, jointly leads the team with Ana Rita Duarte de Campos and Pedro Barosa, who each possess more than 15 years of experience in economic and financial criminal litigation.

Practice head(s):

Ana Rita Duarte de Campos; Pedro Barosa; Francisco Patrício


The team works carefully and preventively. Francisco Patrício is a great strategist who is always available. Pedro Barosa is an excellent expert in the criminal field.’

Specialisation, professionalism, competence and availability.’

‘Pedro Barosa is an excellent lawyer. He is competent and available, and totally dominates matters.’

CCA Law Firm

CCA Law Firm acts for a diverse client roster of financial institutions, companies and private clients in the context of tax fraud, money laundering, cybercrime and corruption cases. The team, which often advises on compliance issues, has been particularly active handling administrative and regulatory proceedings in the banking sector. Department head Henrique Salinas, who has extensive expertise in banking litigation and financial disputes, has participated in high-profile criminal cases.

Practice head(s):

Henrique Salinas

Other key lawyers:

Marta Duarte

Key clients



Fundação Champalimaud




Work highlights

  • Represents one of the defendants in the high-profile criminal investigation related to Grupo Espírito Santo.
  • Acts for an individual in the requests for international judicial co-operation submitted by Brazil and in the transfer to Switzerland of proceedings pending in Portugal in the context of the Lava Jato operation.
  • Represents the journalists accused of breaching legal confidentiality following the publication of several reports on the ongoing criminal investigation known as Vistos Gold by the newspaper Correio da Manhã and the magazine Sábado.

Gómez-Acebo & Pombo

The criminal litigation team at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo is noted for offering comprehensive preventative services, notably by advising clients on the structuring and implementation of personalised compliance programmes and risk assessment strategies. Furthermore, the department, which is spearheaded by civil and criminal litigator Ana Grosso Alves, is equipped to represent clients in high-stakes white-collar criminal proceedings and administrative offences.

Practice head(s):

Ana Grosso Alves