Operation Babel: Detainees linked to the Porto City Council go free


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The two detainees linked to the Oporto city council in Operation Babel, related to alleged corruption in real estate projects, were released from the Criminal Instruction Court (TIC), said today the lawyer of one of them.

According to Paulo Fraga, the employee of the Justice of the Peace Ricardo Magalhães, his client, is free but was applied as coercive measures 20 thousand euros of bail, daily presentations to the judicial authority and suspension of functions.

Operation Babel: Detainees linked to the Porto City Council go free

The other detainee, a former urbanism official of the Oporto municipality, was also released from TIC, and was also applied as a measure of coercion the suspension of the exercise of functions.

The two are indicted for crimes of abuse of office and passive corruption in one of three inquiries under Operation Babel.

“The defense is never satisfied, it is always fighting to the end for defense guarantees,” said Paulo Fraga.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the PJ said Operation Babel focuses on “the vitiation of rules and instruction of urban licensing processes in favor of developers associated with projects of high density and magnitude, being at stake real estate interests in the order of 300 million euros, by offering and accepting monetary counterparts.

In addition to the investigation involving these two defendants, Operation Babel includes two other inquiries, one of which arrested the deputy mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, Patrocínio Azevedo (PS), Israeli businessman Elad Dror, lawyer João Lopes, an employee of the Regional Culture Directorate of the North, Amândio Dias, and businessman Paulo Malafaia.

In total, 12 people have so far been charged in that operation, one of them the mayor of Gaia, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues, who is the target of the third Operation Babel inquiry.

The Mayor of Gaia is currently the only defendant in this investigation, which arises from the extraction of a certificate from the main Operation Babel case, with eight other suspects, including Domingos de Andrade, administrator of the Global Media Group, and the Health Minister, Manuel Pizarro.

Health Minister, Manuel Pizarro
O ministro da Saúde, Manuel Pizarro, durante a sua audição na Comissão de Saúde, por solicitação do Grupo de Trabalho – Saúde Mental, sob o tema “Aprova a Lei de Saúde Mental e altera legislação conexa”, na Assembleia da República, em Lisboa, 05 de abril de 2023. ANTÓNIO PEDRO SANTOS/LUSA

The Health Minister is being investigated in this inquiry for prevarication/abuse of powers for allegedly interceding with Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues to open a tender to accommodate the transfer of an employee of the Gondomar municipality.

The mayor of Gaia is also suspected of illegally and arbitrarily hiring media from the Global Media Group to promote the municipality and himself.

Operation Babel: Detainees linked to the Porto City Council go free

According to an order of the Department of Investigation and Prosecution Regional Department of Porto (DIAPRP), to which the Pp agency had access today, the Public Ministry (MP) says that the mayor “determined the granting by the Board of GAIURB [municipal company], arbitrarily, without any request for expenditure, demonstration of needs or proposal for hiring services and / or supply of goods issued by the respective services, public contracts with the Global Media Group.

As for the five detainees in the main case, they should know today the measures of coercion applied by the TIC, and the lawyer João Lopes is still being heard.

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