Public Prosecutor’s Office to appeal measures applied to corruption suspects in Madeira

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The Public Prosecutor’s Office will appeal against the application of a less severe precautionary measure to former Funchal mayor Pedro Calado and businessmen Avelino Farinha and Custódio Correia, investigated for suspected corruption in Madeira.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office will file an appeal,” an official source from the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) told Lusa, regarding the decision of Judge Jorge Bernardes de Melo, of the Central Criminal Investigation Court (TCIC) in Lisbon, who ordered the “immediate” release of the defendants this afternoon.

The TCIC magistrate also decided to impose a term of identity and residence on the former mayor of Funchal, Pedro Calado (PSD), as well as on the businessmen Avelino Farinha, leader of the AFA construction group, and Custódio Correia, the main shareholder of the Socicorreia construction group.

“As there are no indications that the defendant Custódio Ferreira Correia, the defendant José Avelino Aguiar Farinha and/or the defendant Pedro Miguel Amaro de Bettencourt Calado committed any crime, they should await the outcome of the proceedings subject to the coercive measure of a term of identity and residence,” says the judge’s order.

On Friday, the Public Prosecutor’s Office had requested pre-trial detention, the most severe measure, for the three defendants.

The term of identity and residence, which is mandatory when someone is constituted a defendant, consists of identifying the person and indicating their residence, as well as the obligation to appear before the authorities whenever there is a notification.

The defendant may not change residence or be absent for more than five days without notifying the place where he can be found.

On January 24, the Judiciary Police (PJ) carried out around 130 house and non-house searches, mainly in Madeira, but also in the Azores and various parts of the mainland, as part of a case investigating suspicions of active and passive corruption, economic participation in business, malfeasance, receiving or offering undue advantage, abuse of power and influence peddling.

On that day, the PJ arrested the then mayor of Funchal, who has since resigned, and the two businessmen.

The president of the Regional Government of Madeira (PSD/CDS-PP), Miguel Albuquerque, was indicted and ended up resigning from office, which implied the resignation of the executive.

The case involves suspicions of active and passive corruption, economic participation in business, malfeasance, receiving or offering undue advantage, abuse of power and influence peddling, according to the PJ.

According to court documents to which Lusa has had access, the Public Prosecutor’s Office states that social democrats Miguel Albuquerque, Pedro Calado and Avelino Farinha established, “over time, a relationship of particular proximity and trust” that benefited that business group “contrary to the rules of free competition and public procurement”.

Among the contracts under criminal investigation, according to the court documents, are the concession for the public passenger road transport service on the island of Madeira, the Curral das Freiras cable car concession, the Praia Formosa redevelopment project and Funchal Jazz 2022-2023.

Former mayor of Funchal and businessmen investigated for corruption go free

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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