Sensational miscarriage of justice in Portugal, Prime Minister Costa resigns due to mistaken identity

The Minister of Economy is the real suspect of corruption

It is a sensational miscarriage of justice that has overwhelmed the Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa, wrongly accused of corruption. In fact, the Portuguese prime minister ended up in the crosshairs of the judiciary due to a case of homonymy which led to his resignation on November 7th. The real suspect of having committed corruption crimes, following a telephone wiretap, is actually his Minister of Economy Antonio Costa Silva.

The Portuguese prosecutor admitted having ”wrongly transcribed the name” of the suspect, while the prime minister has always declared himself innocent. But by now he has submitted his resignation to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and called early elections in which, he had said, he has no intention of running again. ”The Public Prosecutor has recognized the mistake”, writes the Portuguese newspaper Publico.

At the center of the scandal are concessions for lithium mines in northern Portugal, a green hydrogen plant project and a data center in the coastal town of Sines. Earlier this month, Portuguese police raided several private and public buildings, including the Ministries of the Environment and Infrastructure and the Sines municipality headquarters, as part of a wide-ranging investigation into corruption and influence peddling . The prosecutor’s office then ordered the arrest of Costa’s chief of staff, Victor Esaria, the mayor of Sines and three other people. The suspects also include the Minister of Infrastructure, Joao Galamba, and the head of the Portuguese Environment Agency. According to the charges, the suspects used the prime minister’s name in their illicit dealings.

Several times a minister, former mayor of Lisbon, the 62-year-old Costa has led Portugal since 2015. He currently governed with the absolute majority of his Socialist Party in Parliament, an exception in a Europe with increasingly fragmented parliaments.