Operation “secret settlements” hones in on further alleged institutional corruption

It has been dubbed “Operação Ajustes Secreto” (secret settlements) loosely translating into a probe into alleged backroom deals involving former mayor of Oliveira de Azeméis Henrique Loureiro, who also happens to be the vice-president of the Federation of Portuguese Football.

For now, Loureiro has been arrested with seven others suspected of corruption, prevarication, theft and the trafficking of influences. Also cited is Oliveira de Azeméis’ current mayor Isidro Figueiredo.

According to Público, PJ police led 31 searches today “including five involving the council and five involving local football clubs”.

A source for the police force told the paper that the operation has revealed “strong indications of the existence of privileged relations between the suspects for the last year”.

Investigations have “detected the realisation of various building works in different localities, manipulating the rules of public hiring”, the source continued.

Seven months ago, Loureiro renounced his mandate as Oliveira de Azeméis’ PSD mayor, “surprising council officials in the region as well as social democrats”, adds Público.

Loureiro didn’t give a reason for his sudden withdrawal from local power, writing only a short message to the municipality saying “often it is more important to leave the political scene than to present it”.

Says Público, he left his position on the metropolitan council of Porto, the regional tourism executive and the general council of Portuguese municipalities, but he continues to represent municipalities on the national sports council.

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