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Tourist Board boss investigated over freebie Algarve holiday

beachBarImageThe head of Portugal’s northern tourism regional body is being investigated for taking an Algarve holiday, paid for by businessmen who received sponsorship money from public funds.

The president of Turismo do Porto e Norte de Portugal, Melchior Moreira, (pictured below), is suspected of having taken a vacation in the Algarve, courtesy of tourism business leaders who benefited from sponsorship deals.

Moreira and four other suspects are accused in an investigation into the activity carried out by an “entity linked to the promotion of tourism” for alleged corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power, according to the District Attorney General of Porto.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Porto has authorised 16 home searches, 16 vehicle searches and 34 searches are various offices, including tourism-related entities, a Council and the headquarters of Sporting Clube de Braga and Vitória Sport Clube.

SC Braga confirmed in a statement that the club “received a request from the Judicial Police to provide information on the sponsorship agreement entered into with the tourism body.”

The club confirmed the existence of an agreement and “shared the existing documentation and provided the Judicial Police with their full cooperation.”

SC Braga and the northern tourist board had a sponsorship contract to promote the country in Madrid, where Braga’s futsal team competed last November. The €15,000 deal involved branding on team shirts.

According to the authorities, searches were conducted in Porto, Viana do Castelo, Viseu, Braga, Bragança, Lisbon and Faro.

Various crimes are being looked at, including influence, abuse of power, economic participation in business, passive corruption and active corruption of public office holder, and improper receipt of advantage from same.