Press delight in politicians being allegedly caught with their fingers in forbidden pies continues this week with a new ‘disgrace’: freebie trips to China.
Following hot-on-the-heels of the “football freebie scandal” involving oil company Galp and a number of PS Socialist stalwarts, Huaweigate centres on figures ‘from the other side’, the PSD.
Says tabloid Correio da Manhã, the Public Ministry is “collecting evidence” on freebie trips made by various PSD bigwigs to China, courtesy of telecommunications firm Huawei.
The trips took place last year, and involved ‘all-expenses paid benefits’ over a period of five days.
Says CM, the Public Ministry is looking into whether this is another case of “receiving undue advantage”.
One of the PSD names involved is Oeiras mayor Paulo Vistas who previously travelled to China on Huawei’s invitation in 2014, adds the paper.
Vistas says he sees “nothing unethical” in his trips, but Visão magazine has since dumped on him, alleging Vistas got to know Henrique Muacho on the first jolly – a “businessman accused of seven crimes of economic participation in business in a process that centres on masonry and whose principal suspect João Alberto Correia is the former director general of the Ministry of Internal Administration, and as such one of the Portuguese responsible for acting as a link with Chinese tech businesses”.
Whatever happened in China, Vistas returned, Muacho was awarded a €51,000 business deal in Oeiras and no written contract was necessary, Vistas has assured Visão, as “according to article 95, clause 1 of the Code of Public Contracts, if a service is supplied within a maximum term of 20 days” there is no need for one, “independent of the value” of such service.
Vistas fought the last elections alongside former Oeiras mayor Isaltino Morais, who has since served time in jail for fiscal fraud and money-laundering.
Morais is now out of jail and back vying for a position on the council, while Vistas has shifted slightly from the PSD fold, and is hoping to be voted back as mayor in October, but this time an independent, under a slogan that speaks volumes: “Look forwards”.
Vistas has said that he does not “reject the support of PSD voters”, but “in the face of recent rumours” has decided to reject running under any form of party banner.