António Costa resigns as Prime Minister of Portugal after being investigated for corruption
Although he has assured that he has not committed any illegal act, Costa has stated that the position of prime minister is not compatible with the "suspicion of the practice of any criminal act."
The Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, resigned this Tuesday due to the investigation against him for possible prevarication, active and passive corruption, and influence peddling in lithium and hydrogen businesses, although he has assured that he has not committed any illegal act.
"In these circumstances, obviously, I presented my resignation to His Excellency the President of the Republic," said the socialist in a televised intervention, in which he indicated that the position of prime minister is not compatible with the "suspicion of the practice of any criminal act."
Costa claims to see "surprised" this Tuesday with the information of a criminal process against him and has shown himself "totally available" to collaborate with Justice. However, denies the accusations and emphasizes that he leaves "with a very clear conscience."
After his resignation, the next steps will be decided by the president, the conservative Marcelo Rebelo de Sousawhich has the power to dissolve the Assembly of the Republic and call elections if deemed necessary.
Costa did not want to advance or deny whether he will be a candidate in a possible election: "The last thing I will do is condition or publicly pronounce on the decision that the president will make."
The Public Ministry announced this Tuesday in a statement that it was investigating Costa and several members of his Cabinet for alleged crimes of prevarication, active and passive corruption, and influence peddling, for a case linked to lithium and hydrogen businesses.
The Prosecutor's Office carried out a search of "spaces used by the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff" and noted that several suspects have spoken of Costa's involvement in the case of "unblocking procedures".
The investigation, in which registered more than 40 places, focuses on lithium exploitation concessions in the Romano and Barroso mines, in the north of the country; in addition to a project for a hydrogen energy production plant and another for the construction of a data center, both in Sines.
The Prosecutor's Office has issued arrest warrants against the Prime Minister's chief of staff, the mayor of Sines and two of his administrators in the company "Start Campus" and against a lawyer, who will be presented to Justice for interrogation.
The Minister of Infrastructure, João Galamba, and the president of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Environment Agency have also been declared "arguidos" (formal suspects, a figure prior to the accusation).
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