Former PS mayors to face trial for corruption

Operation ‘Teia’ (Web): accusations move forwards

Operation Teia, which broke over four years ago, is inching forwards with the formal charges now made against two former PS Socialist mayors (of Santo Tirso and Barcelos), one former deputy mayor (Barcelos), the former president of Porto’s IPO hospital, and businesswoman and former wife of the former mayor of Santo Tirso, Manuela Sousa (formerly Couto). 

At issue in this investigation are crimes of corruption/ prevarication – very much like those cited in Operation Influencer, which caused the fall of António Costa and his Socialist government.

According to the final charge sheet, the public prosecutor has cited:

  • Joaquim Couto (former mayor of Santo Tirso) – with active corruption, theft and prevarication
  • Manuela Sousa (formerly Couto) – with prevarication, economic participation in business, theft and corruption 
  • Miguel Costa Gomes (former mayor of Barcelos) – with prevarication, economic participation in business and passive corruption
  • Domingos Pereira (former deputy mayor of Barcelos) – with 23 crimes de prevarication
  • Laranja Pontes (former president of Porto’s IPO cancer hospital) – with passive corruption and 18 crimes of economic participation in business

Teia centres on the alleged hiring of the services of companies owned by Manuela Soares, formerly Couto, at above market rates, and in exchange for political favours.

One pointer from Teia is the length of time between arrests and the final formulation of charges. This needs to be weighed against current calls for ‘speedy resolution’ of the Operation Influencer investigation: Teia’s timeline would suggest ‘justice can only move at its own pace’.

Another original ‘official suspect’ in Teia – the current mayor of Matosinhos – has had all suspicions over her possible involvement archived. Luísa Salgueiro however is not content, saying this was not ‘justice’ as she feels she should never have been cited, and the suspicions have left a stain on her image as a politician. ND