Albufeira Council targeted by police search for corruption, Mayor and councillors under investigation
The Albufeira City Council was the target of searches by the Judiciary Police early this morning, Thursday, March 5th. This was revealed by broadcaster SIC Notícias and later confirmed by regional news website Sul Informação.
The reason for the searches is not yet confirmed by the Council themselves, but SIC Notícias revealed that they are suspected of “corruption involving public office holders”. TVI, in turn, also guarantees that there are suspicions of cases of “corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power”. An anonymous source from Albufeira Council has stated that this “is a situation that occurs on a regular basis, in many parts of the country”. However, saying that corruption investigations happen regularly throughout Portugal doesn’t like a very strong defence on their part.
The Correio da Manhã newspaper claims that “several defendants are being investigated”, among them José Carlos Rolo, Mayor of Albufeira. Contacted by press, a source from the Attorney General’s Office said that the searches are being carried out “as part of an investigation conducted by the Public Ministry’s Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP) “.
“In this investigation, the Public Ministry is assisted by the Judiciary Police,” he added.
José Carlos Rolo, Mayor of Albufeira, and Paulo Freitas, leader of the Municipal Assembly, are two of the five public servants under investigation by police as part of the so-called “Empório Operation”, in which the municipality was the target of searches, throughout today.
Additional entities under investigation are António Colaço, president of Futebol Clube Ferreiras, and two other unnamed individuals.
The municipality, for its part, has already made it public that it has “total availability” to collaborate with the police and investigators who have been conducting both home and non-home searches.
The proceedings are being “chaired by a Criminal Investigation Judge and three Public Prosecutors, with 40 investigators and experts from the Judiciary Police participating”, added the PJ spokesperson. “At issue are suspected of crimes of passive and active corruption, economic participation in business, tax fraud, malfeasance and abuse of power”, he explains. After the five defendants are investigated, the “investigation to determine all criminal conduct, illicit benefits, respective agents and other co-participants” will continue.
No doubts there will be developments to this case in the coming days.