An Israeli businessman has been released from custody after being detained for questioning in connection with a police investigation into real estate dealings.
Elad Dror, the CEO of Fortera Group, was arrested on Tuesday along with six other people. The arrests were part of an operation called "Babel" that was launched after an anonymous denunciation. The name “Babel” was used for this investigation because of Dror’s triumph to build the highest building in Portugal.
Dror, who is a Sephardic Jew, was released on Friday after being questioned by prosecutors. He has denied any wrongdoing.
How did he get out?
Dror declared on his way out of the Criminal Investigation Court (TIC) of Porto that “he will pay the one-million Euros” that was applied to him as a measure of coercion in order to be released, according to Portugal News.
The Portugal news site said that Dror was released in exchange for a bond of one million Euros and the surrender of his passport, while others were sent to house arrest or remained in custody for questioning.
In addition to Dror, another real estate entrepreneur, Paulo Malafaia, was also arrested, who had already been arrested under Operation Vortex, under which the former mayor of Espinho, Miguel Reis, is in preventive detention.
The deputy mayor of the municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia, Patrocínio Azevedo, who is in charge of urban planning, was also arrested. Portugal media said that the prosecution thinks that Azevedo was bribed by Dror.
On his company's website, Dror is called "a Citizen of the world," since he has "travelled and lived in more than 6 countries, successfully creating businesses and companies in the US, UK, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Portugal."According to the site, Dror has been conducting businesses in Portugal since 2010 with a vast experience in managing complex projects, in the international market, currently responsible for 150 employees in Portugal. "He recently made the cover of Forbes Portugal magazine highlighting his performance in the real estate market," it said.
Jewish community has expressed concern about the arrests
The Jewish community in Porto has expressed concern about the arrests and has accused the media of antisemitism.
The community's president, Gabriel Senderowicz, said that the arrests were "a witch hunt" and that they were "being used to attack the whole community."
He said that the community had been "presented as the migrants that Portugal does not need" and that the arrests were "a way of saying that we are not welcome here."
In July, Portugal News published an article about the Skyline project, that is planned to be built by Fortera Properties "and represents an investment of €150 million, €30 million more than initially planned. “Changes to the project” and the “expressive increases in the construction sector” are behind this rise in the value of investment, they quoted Dror by saying.