Portugal PM Tenders Resignation Over Corruption Scandal

On Tuesday, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa resigned after being entangled in a corruption investigation involving the granting of energy-related contracts.

“The duties of prime minister are not compatible with any suspicion of my integrity,” Costa told a press conference after briefly speaking with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa earlier on Tuesday.

“In these circumstances, I have presented my resignation to the president of the Republic,” he added.

Investigators had investigated numerous ministries, as well as Costa’s offices, according to Portuguese media earlier Tuesday.

Prosecutors later announced that they had indicted Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba and had obtained an arrest order for Costa’s chief of staff.

According to a statement from public prosecutors, the inquiry involves “alleged misappropriation of funds, active and passive corruption by political figures, and influence peddling.”

A separate investigation is looking into Costa, who is claimed to have intervened personally to expedite the contracts, according to the statement.

The inquiry includes lithium mining concessions in the country’s north, as well as a hydrogen production plant and data center planned for Sines, a town roughly 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Lisbon.

Arrest warrants were also issued for the mayor of Sines and two executives at Start Campus, citing flight danger and the prospect of further illicit action.

The president of the executive board of the Portuguese Agency for Environmental Protection (APA) was also charged.

In May, the APA approved a lithium mining project, which is required for the production of electric batteries.

A second project was approved at the beginning of September. Environmentalists and several members of the local community are opposed to the developments.

Portugal has the most lithium reserves in Europe and is the continent’s main producer, but the majority of its present output is used in the ceramic and glass industries.

Costa, the prime minister of Portugal’s Socialist Party, has been in office since late 2015 and was re-elected in January 2022. His popularity has recently dwindled as a result of a series of controversies involving the national airline TAP.

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