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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Portuguese PM António Costa Resigns Amid Corruption Charges

In a surprising turn of events, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa announced his resignation after becoming embroiled in a far-reaching corruption investigation. Costa made this announcement during a nationally televised address, stating, “In these circumstances, obviously, I have presented my resignation to the president of the republic.”

The decision to step down came shortly after Portuguese authorities arrested Costa’s chief of staff, concurrently conducting searches in various public buildings and properties as part of a comprehensive corruption probe. The state prosecutor’s office revealed that the Supreme Court was examining the suspects’ “use of the prime minister’s name and his involvement to unlock” the activities under investigation.

During his emotional address, the 62-year-old Costa, who has led Portugal’s Socialist party since 2015, asserted his innocence and expressed gratitude to his family for their unwavering support over the years. He declared, “I totally trust the justice system” and emphasized that his conscience is clear of any wrongdoing or censured actions. He also acknowledged that he is not above the law and welcomed any investigations to clear his name.

The resignation of Prime Minister Costa is expected to be accepted by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Notably, arrest warrants were issued for Vítor Escária, Costa’s chief of staff, the mayor of Sines, and three others due to concerns related to flight risk and evidence preservation. Among the suspects are the Minister of Infrastructure, João Galamba, and the head of the country’s environmental agency.

The investigation revolves around allegations of malfeasance, corruption among elected officials, and influence peddling connected to lithium mine concessions near Portugal’s northern border with Spain. Additionally, it encompasses plans for a green hydrogen plant and data center in Sines, located on the country’s southern coast. The authorities conducted searches in various locations, including government ministries, the Sines town council, private residences, and offices.

The state prosecutor’s office has found that the “suspects invoked the name of the prime minister” while allegedly engaging in illicit activities. Portugal’s lithium mines and green hydrogen projects are part of the broader green initiative supported by the European Union.

Costa disclosed that he had no prior knowledge of being under legal scrutiny and stated, “This is a phase of my life that comes to an end.” The situation has undoubtedly created a significant shift in Portuguese politics and raised questions about the future of the country’s leadership.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

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