The case affecting the Prime Minister, according to the prosecution, relates to suspicions of “embezzlement and corruption of political office holders and abuse of influence” in the context of allocating licenses for lithium exploration and hydrogen production.
Portuguese Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced on Tuesday that he had submitted his resignation after a corruption scandal led to the indictment of one of his ministers and his chief of staff.
“The duties of the Prime Minister are not compatible with any doubt of my integrity. In these circumstances, I submitted my resignation to the President of the Republic“, Governor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced to the press.
It is now up to the head of state to accept it. Antonio Costa, one of the rare socialists at the head of a European government, added, “The future will depend on the president’s decisions.”
The case involving the Portuguese Prime Minister, according to the prosecution, raises suspicions.”Embezzlement, positive and negative corruption of political office holders and influence peddling“Within the framework of allocating licenses for lithium exploration and hydrogen production.
“During the investigation”The suspects also mentioned the name and authority of the Prime MinisterThe Public Prosecutor said in a press release on Tuesday.
“He is suspected of interfering himself.”To cancel the blocking procedures“In the context of this matter, Antonio Costa will”Subject of investigation“Independent, always in accordance with the prosecution.
During his speech to the press, Mr. Costa said:surprised“By opening this investigation.
“Investigators are particularly interested in licensing.”Lithium mine exploration“In northern Portugal, in”Hydrogen energy production project“and for”Data center construction project from Start Campus“In Sens, about a hundred kilometers south of Lisbon.
On Tuesday morning, searches were conducted at the Prime Minister’s official residence and a number of homes, ministries and law offices.
Taking into account the elements collected by the investigators.”Risk of escape and continued criminal activity“Justice was served.”Arrest orders“against Mr. Costa’s chief of staff, the mayor of Sens and two directors of Start Camps.
Portuguese Infrastructure Minister João Galamba has been charged, as has the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Environmental Protection Agency (APA).
The APA announced at the beginning of September that it had given the green light, under certain conditions, to a second project in the country to extract lithium, a metal used in the manufacture of batteries and essential for the energy transition.
Portugal, which has Europe’s first lithium reserve, is already the main producer, but its production is currently used entirely in ceramics and glassware.
The first lithium mine project received, with conditions, a license from the APA last May.
Environmental NGOs and part of the local population in this rural area compete for these mining projects.
After his huge electoral victory on January 30, 2022, which gave him an absolute majority that was supposed to ensure the stability of his government, Mr. Costa saw his popularity decline due to repeated scandals.
The most notable of these is the “TAP Gateway” named after the public airline, and more than a dozen ministers and secretaries of state have already left their posts over this issue.
This scandal broke almost a year ago after it was revealed that a severance pay of €500,000 had been paid to TAP’s director. She then took over the management of an air traffic control company and a few months later was appointed Secretary of State for the Exchequer.