November 12, 2023

PORTUGAL: Prime Minister Resigns Unexpectedly on Tuesday Hours After The Police Raided Government Buildings For Corruption Investigation And Issued Arrest Warrant For PM Chief Of Staff.

UPDATE 11/19/23 at 12:27am: Added video below.

Redacted published November 17, 2023: Portugal's Green SCANDAL just got WORSE a total 'Net Zero' failure. Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa has resigned in a scandal over lithium mining. He is one of many politicians brought down by the green new deal. Is this indicative that the green new deal is a scam? Portuguese commentator Alexandre Guerrero joins us to discuss!

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Reuters published November 8, 2023: Portugal's PM Costa resigns over corruption probe. Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa stepped down hours after his chief of staff was detained and their offices searched by police as part of a wider corruption probe.
BC News (Australia) published November 9, 2023: Portugal’s corruption crisis turns country’s president into kingmaker. Portugal's prime minister is stepping down as the country's authorities investigate irregularities in his government's lithium mining and hydrogen projects. António Costa will stay in the role until his successor is found. That's left Portugal's head of state with a big decision to make. Loughlin Patrick reports.
New York Times
written by Cassandra Vinograd
Tuesday November 7, 2023

Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal resigned unexpectedly on Tuesday, hours after the police raided government buildings as part of an inquiry into corruption and “influence peddling” and issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Costa’s chief of staff.

Mr. Costa, who had been in power since 2015, said in televised remarks that he had been “surprised” to learn that he would be the subject of criminal proceedings and that “no illicit act weighs on my conscience.”

“However, I believe that the dignity of the office of the prime minister is not compatible with any suspicion about your integrity, your good conduct and even less with the practical suspicion of any criminal act,” he added. “Therefore, in these circumstances, obviously, I presented my resignation.”

A judge authorized police to search 37 locations — including the office of Mr. Costa’s chief of staff, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Infrastructure, a City Council office in the town of Sines and several private homes, according to a statement from the prosecutor general’s office.

The investigation relates to lithium exploration concessions in northern Portugal and a hydrogen-energy production plant and data center in Sines, on the country’s southern coast, the statement said.

It did not name Mr. Costa, but said that arrest warrants were issued for the head of the prime minister’s office — identified by local media as Vítor Escária — along with the mayor of Sines and three other individuals. Portugal’s minister of infrastructure and the head of Portugal’s Environmental Agency were also named as suspects in the statement.

The prosecutor’s office said that investigation showed that the suspects had invoked Mr. Costa’s name and authority “to unblock procedures” in relation to the exploration concessions.

Portugal has significant reserves of lithium — an essential ingredient in electric car batteries and renewable energy.

Mr. Costa, the leader of the Socialist Party, took office in 2015 when he lost an election but ended up becoming prime minister anyway after persuading two smaller left-wing parties to back him. At the time, the alliance was ridiculed as a “geringonça,” or “contraption,” that his opponents said would fall apart in no time — but he has been in power ever since.

The Socialists won an outright majority in snap elections in 2022, giving them enough seats in Parliament to govern without a coalition. The result was seen as a relief for Mr. Costa, who had been popular for managing the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic but also faced questions about his stewardship of the economy.

written by Aitor Hernandez-Morales
Saturday November 11, 2023

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa apologized to the country’s people on Saturday, expressing embarrassment for the corruption probe launched against himself and several members of his administration.

Costa said he felt betrayed when he learned that authorities had found tens of thousands of euros in envelopes in the office of his chief of staff, Vítor Escária, during a police raid of the prime minister’s official residence on Tuesday.

“It is something that embarrasses me and I have a duty to apologize,” Costa said in a televised speech.

Costa, who resigned on Tuesday but will remain the country’s caretaker prime minister until snap elections are held in March 2024, said that Portugal continued to be a place where it was safe for foreigners to invest.

Authorities are investigating possible acts of corruption, influence peddling and malfeasance in connection with the concession of lithium mining projects in the north of the country, a green hydrogen mega-project, and a data center in Sines.

While expressing respect for the ongoing corruption investigation, Costa defended his government’s right to make strategic investments in projects aimed at spurring development and said that his administration had always acted “in strict compliance with the law” while “promoting regional development, removing bureaucracy and boosting transparency.”

“Future Portuguese governments must be guaranteed the freedom of political action to pursue legitimate strategies,” he said.

The Financial Times
written by Barney Jopson
Sunday November 12, 2023

Portugal’s central bank governor Mário Centeno is facing an ethics review by an independent watchdog after he was proposed as the next prime minister by outgoing Socialist premier António Costa, who quit last week over a corruption scandal.

Costa, who resigned hours after a number of arrests and police raids in a probe over alleged corruption among public officials, had urged Portugal’s president to appoint Centeno, a former finance minister, to replace him rather than call new elections.

The president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, rejected the idea and announced on Thursday night that he would dissolve parliament at the end of November and call a general election for March 10.

However, Costa’s proposal has put the governor in the spotlight.

A central bank official confirmed that its ethics commission, comprised of three people from outside the bank, would meet on Monday to review recent events. It will consider questions including potential conflicts of interest.

The opposition Social Democrats said that, in recent days, Centeno had “demonstrated that he is an actor of the Socialist party”. António Leitão Amaro, the party’s vice-president, told the newspaper Público: “[Centeno] lost the legitimacy and the objectivity to be Bank of Portugal governor.”

Costa named Centeno as head of the central bank in 2020. He was previously finance minister in two minority governments led by Costa, who won a majority in an election in early 2022.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Centeno made his first public comments on the saga. “I had an invitation from the president and prime minister to reflect on and consider the possibility of leading the government,” he said. “I was very far from reaching a decision.”

Centeno is one of several dovish voices among the governors of southern European nations on the ECB’s 26-person governing council, which sets interest rates.

Costa announced his shock resignation on Tuesday while denying any wrongdoing related to the corruption probe. It has led to the arrest of his chief of staff and to prosecutors naming his infrastructure minister as a formal suspect.

Centeno has not been linked to any of the corruption allegations.

The prosecutors’ probe centres on several high-profile foreign investment projects: two lithium mines, a hydrogen production facility and a bank of large data centres. Prosecutors said they were investigating possible crimes of corruption, malfeasance and influence peddling among public officials.

Costa spoke again on Saturday evening because he said he saw “a dangerous idea building up that governments should not act to attract investment and simplify [procedures]”. He said governments had a duty to lure investment, “but always, always complying with the law”. He added: “To those who want to invest in Portugal, I say that your investment is welcomed.”

Prosecutors have said that, in the course of their investigations, some suspects alleged that the prime minister had intervened to “unblock procedures”. Costa has said he has a clear conscience.

Lithium is used to produce electric vehicle batteries. Now do you understand why they want us off of petro operated vehichles and want to shut down coal mining as well. Not because petrolium oil and coal mining is bad for the environment as they say. They don't give a shit about preserving the environment. It's because they need to establish electic only energy use for the 15-minute cities they have planned to put us all in. Those that survive their depopulation that is. They want everything to be electric so that they can control our consumption and use. You say something wrong, bam the government can shut off your electric service. So no hot water, no electric car use, no electric bike use, no electricity to use in your home. OR they're going to ration our electricity use. So once you've reached your maximum allowable monthly use, you're screwed. Plus, electricity is expensive and usually monopolized by one company in every city across America where they can name their price without any competition. And solar power only works when we have sunshine. So on days the psychos cover our skies with clouds or it's raining, we're screwed unable to recharge the solar powered batteries hence no electricity to use. According to Statista August 25, 2023: coal has consistently been among the cheapest fuel types used in the power sector. (emphasis mine)
FRANCE 24 English published February 10, 2023: In Portugal, plan for lithium mine in rural village sparks controversy. Northern Portugal is believed to contain the largest lithium reserves in Europe. These resources have attracted the attention of some of the world's largest mining companies. The London-based firm Savannah Resources wants to open the continent's biggest open-cast lithium mine by 2026, in the village of Covas do Barroso. Supporters say this would give Europe an invaluable supply of lithium for producing batteries for electric cars, helping the EU reach its carbon-zero target by 2050. But many locals and environmentalists oppose the project. Our regional correspondents report.
euronews published February 5, 2022: Portugal's government approves lithium mining despite growing concerns. Portugal’s government gave the lucrative mining industry permission to extract the metal in six different parts of the country despite widespread environmental concerns.
TRT World published October 16, 2018: Portugal set to benefit from lithium boom. Government reforms and declining costs are driving sales of electric cars around the world. That is fueling demand for the light metal used to make batteries for these vehicles. As Paolo Montecillo reports, this trend could provide a much-needed boost to one of Europe's struggling economies.

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