In a stunning turn of events, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa has announced his resignation following his involvement in a far-reaching corruption investigation. Speaking in a nationally televised address, Costa made it clear that he had tendered his resignation to the president of the republic.
This unexpected announcement comes on the heels of the arrest of Costa’s chief of staff and a series of raids on public buildings and other properties by Portuguese police. The investigation, which spans multiple cases, has prompted the Supreme Court and the state prosecutor’s office to scrutinize the alleged exploitation of the prime minister’s name and his suspected involvement in unlawful activities.
Despite the mounting pressure, the 62-year-old Costa, who has served as Portugal’s Socialist leader since 2015, maintains his innocence. Emotionally touched, Costa expressed gratitude to his family for their unwavering support over the years.
“I have complete faith in the justice system,” Costa declared. “I want to make it clear to the Portuguese people that I am free from any illegal or reprehensible actions.”
It is anticipated that Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will accept Costa’s resignation, marking a significant development in the country’s political landscape.
Investigation Leads to Arrest Warrants for Portuguese Officials
An investigation into alleged malfeasance, corruption, and influence peddling has led to arrest warrants being issued for several high-ranking officials in Portugal. Among those named as suspects are Vítor Escária, Chief of Staff for Prime Minister Costa, the mayor of Sines, and three others. The warrants were issued to prevent flight risks and protect evidence, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.
The probe centers around the granting of lithium mine concessions near Portugal’s northern border with Spain, as well as plans for a green hydrogen plant and data center in Sines on the south coast. As part of the investigation, raids were conducted at various locations, including the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Sines town council, private residences, and offices.
Notably, Minister of Infrastructure João Galamba and the head of the country’s environmental agency have also been implicated. The prosecutor’s office revealed that the suspects were allegedly invoking the name of Prime Minister Costa while engaging in their illicit activities.
Portugal’s lithium mines and green hydrogen projects align with the European Union’s broader green initiative. However, these recent developments have cast a shadow over these efforts. Prime Minister Costa expressed surprise at being targeted and stated that this marked a significant phase in his life coming to an end.