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Former mayor of Funchal suspected of corruption released

 Lisbon,Feb. 14, 2024 (Lusa) – The former mayor of Funchal, Pedro Calado, and the two businessmen arrested three weeks ago as part of the investigation into suspected corruption in Madeira will be released on Wednesday under a term of identity and residence the investigating judge has ruled.

According to the order issued by Judge Jorge Bernardes de Melo of the Central Criminal Investigation Court in Lisbon, the least severe precautionary measure was applied to former mayor Pedro Calado (PSD), as well as to businessmen Avelino Farinha, leader of the AFA construction group, and Cust├│dio Correia, the main shareholder of the Socicorreia construction group.

On Friday, the Public Prosecutor’s Office had requested pre-trial detention, the most serious measure, for the three defendants.

The term of identity and residence, which is mandatory when someone is a defendant, consists of the identification of the person and indication of their residence, as well as the obligation to appear before the authorities whenever there is a notification.

The defendant cannot change their place of residence or be absent for more than five days without notifying the place where they can be found.

On 24 January, Portugal’s criminal investigation police agency (PJ) carried out around 130 house and non-house searches, mainly in Madeira but also in the Azores and various parts of the mainland, as part of a case investigating suspicions of active and passive corruption, economic participation in business, malfeasance, receiving or offering undue advantage, abuse of power and influence peddling.

On that day, Portugal’s criminal investigation police agency, PJ, arrested the then-mayor of Funchal, who has since resigned, and the two businessmen.

The president of the Regional Government of Madeira (PSD/CDS-PP), Miguel Albuquerque, was made a defendant and ended up resigning, which meant that the executive had to step down.

At issue in the case are suspicions of active and passive corruption, economic participation in business, malfeasance, receiving or offering an undue advantage, abuse of power and influence peddling, according to Portugal’s criminal investigation police agency, PJ.

According to court documents to which Lusa has had access, the Public Prosecutor’s Office states that social democrats Miguel Albuquerque, Pedro Calado and Avelino Farinha established “over time, a relationship of particular proximity and trust” that benefited the business group “contrary to the rules of free competition and public procurement”.

Among the contracts under criminal investigation, according to the court documents, are the public service concession for road passenger transport on the island of Madeira, the Curral das Freiras cable car concession, the Praia Formosa redevelopment project and Funchal Jazz 2022-2023.

RCP/ADB // ADB.

Lusa

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