LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said Tuesday he is resigning after being involved in a widespread corruption probe.
Costa said in a nationally televised address that “in these circumstances, obviously, I have presented my resignation to the president of the republic.”
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portuguese police have arrested the chief of staff of Prime Minister António Costa while raiding several public buildings and other properties as part of a widespread corruption probe, the prosecutor's office said Tuesday.
The Supreme Court, prosecutors said, is also examining the suspects’ “use of the prime minister’s name and his involvement to unlock” the practices being probed.
An investigative judge issued arrest warrants for Vítor Escária, Costa’s chief of staff, the mayor of Sines, and three other people because they represented a flight risk and to protect evidence, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
It said that the Minister of Infrastructure João Galamba and the head of the country’s environmental agency were among those named as suspects.
The judge is investigating alleged malfeasance, corruption of elected officials, and influence peddling related to lithium mine concessions near Portugal’s northern border with Spain, and plans for a green hydrogen plant and data center in the southern coastal town of Sines.
The raids included the premises of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Sines town council, private homes and offices.
The prosecutor’s office said that the probe has determined that the “suspects invoked the name of the prime minister” when carrying out their allegedly illicit activities.
Costa, a Socialist, has been in power since 2015.
Portugal's lithium mines and green hydrogen projects are part of the continent's green initiative being pushed by the European Union.
The Associated Press