Corruption case verdict soon

Defendants in the alleged Albufeira corruption trial will now hear their fate at the end of October. A total of 35 officers from the city’s GNR-BT (traffic) division are accused of extorting money from civil construction businesses in the Algarve, in exchange for disregarding fines stemming from traffic violations.

Verdicts were due to be handed down in the auditorium of Albufeira Câmara earlier this week, but this clashed with a major event at the Câmara scheduled for that day. The unusually large number of defendants had necessitated the transfer of proceedings to the Albufeira Câmara building itself.

Since the beginning of the trial on October 15 last year, a total of 30 lawyers and prosecutors have been involved in the case. Final statements from defence lawyers were heard on July 19, marked by criticism directed at the judicial police for their handling of the investigation. This focused on material gathered by the judicial police through the use of phone-tapping devices – evidence that was only handed over to the judge 40 days after the beginning of the investigation.

Of the 35 defendants accused of criminal association, extortion, corruption and abuse of power, only one officer, Joaquim Garcia, has been detained in custody. The prosecution has alleged that Garcia was the ‘ring-leader’ of the corruption sting.