Former government minister “to be made arguido” in Golden Visa corruption investigation

As the current minister for internal administration toured the Algarve opening new security facilities, her predecessor was thrown into the corruption spotlight for his role in the scandal centring on the illegal trading of Golden Visas to incoming wealthy foreigners.

According to an exclusive published today in national tabloid Correio da Manhã, PJ investigators want to make Miguel Macedo an “arguido” in their long-running investigation.

The former minister who resigned in the wake of the scandal – saying he had nothing to do with any of it but that his authority had nonetheless been “diminished” – is suspected of the crime of “misfeasance”, which loosely means: ‘wilful inappropriate behaviour in public office’.

Taken logically, misfeasance suggests abuse of power.

CM writes that the PJ has already requested that Macedo be stripped of his “parliamentary immunity”. This is the only way the former minister can then be formally made an “arguido” – the Portuguese term for an official defendant in a legal process.

As far as CM has learnt, Macedo is in the spotlight over a number of Golden Visa issues – including fast-tracking entry permits to Libyans who wanted to come to Portugal for medical treatment.

Under scrutiny is a weekend break he is understood to have made with two other key players in the investigation, notary institute boss António Figueiredo – who remains in police custody as investigations continue – and businessman Jaime Couto Alves, who is being kept under house arrest over his alleged role in the scandal.

Both men are understood to have used the code name “white horse” for Macedo in conversations which were intercepted by investigators.

But how long it will take for Macedo’s parliamentary immunity to be lifted is anyone’s guess. According to CM, the process is “long winded”.

Macedo resigned within three days of the scandal hitting the headlines last November.

Since then, 11 people have been arrested and nine are now “arguidos”.

The case has been declared “especially complicated”, writes CM, and investigators thus have a year “counting from the first arrests” to elaborate all the charges and prepare for an eventual trial.

Since Macedo’s resignation, incoming minister Anabela Rodrigues has overseen a number of new rules that are claimed to have tightened the Golden Visa process rendering corruption “an evil of the past”.

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