PJ police lead searches of home of former party leader, MPs and party HQ
Wednesday broke with the news nationally that former PSD leader Rui Rio is involved in suspicions of embezzlement and abuse of power.
Authorities are investigating the alleged misuse of public money in a purported scheme of party financing through the placement of officials in Parliament.
PJ inspectors are said to be “looking into contracts of PSD officials who were paid as employees of the party’s parliamentary group”.
Searches at the PSD headquarters in Lisbon began at around 9am while roughly 14 house searches also took place in the areas of Lisbon and Porto, plus others at the offices of Chartered Accountants.
According to tabloid reports, the homes of MP Hugo Carneiro, former adviser Florbela Guedes and ‘the entire former PSD board’ were among those searched from around 8am this morning
The timeline for the alleged crimes is “between 2018 and 2022”, specifically when 65-year-old Rio was president of the PSD.
The party, now led by Luís Montenegro, has confirmed today’s activity, guaranteeing that “it will provide all the collaboration requested by the judicial authorities”.
According to Lusa, public prosecutors attached to both Lisbon and Porto were involved in today’s searches, which included around 100 inspectors and “various IT and financial experts”.
So far, there appear to have been no news of any ‘arrests’ or people/ entities cited as official suspects (arguidos).
This new investigation comes hot-on-the-heels of another one – rocking the Socialist government of António Costa in various ways.
The former secretary of state for Defence who resigned last Friday after being made an official suspect in Operation Perfect Storm has today pulled out of his scheduled hearing in front of the defence committee in parliament later this week.
As for Rui Rio, he has been filmed from his balcony, joking with reporters outside his house, seemingly unfazed by this sudden return to the public spotlight.
Eu amo um país.
— Catarina Coutinho (@CatarinaCoutin3) July 12, 2023
He has used the “tranquil” word so often used in Portugal when there are suspicions of wrong-doing and/ or corruption at play. He is “tranquil”, he says.