Mayor of Gaia is one of the 12 defendants in Operation Babel. Seven people were arrested – Portugal

The mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues, is one of the defendants in “Operação Babel”, during which seven arrests were made this Tuesday and which investigates real estate projects worth around 300 million euros.

A judicial source told the Lusa agency this Tuesday that the mayor of Gaia (PS) is one of the defendants in the process – in addition to the seven arrests – being suspected of alleged favoritism in hiring personnel and companies.

The news that the mayor of Gaia was constituted an arguido in this process was advanced tonight by the online newspaper Observeradding that the PJ, during the searches, seized the mayor’s mobile phone as well as various documents.

As part of Operation Babel, the deputy mayor of the municipality of Gaia, Patrocínio Azevedo (PS), who is in charge of Urban Planning and Soil Policy, Urban Licensing, Municipal Works and Municipal Roads, “suspected of receiving too many gloves of 120,000 euros through his lawyer”, also detained, “who would bridge the gap with the two real estate businessmen, also detained”, another source linked to the investigation explained to Lusa.

The two businessmen arrested are the executive director and founder of the Fortera Group, Elad Dror, and Paulo Malafaia, who had already been arrested under the “Vórtex Operation”, under which the former mayor of Espinho Miguel Reis was is in custody.

Two employees of the Porto council were also arrested, one of them head of a division of the urban area and another with links to this division, and a senior technician from the Regional Directorate of Culture of the North.

It is planned that the seven detainees will be present for the first judicial interrogation from Wednesday, at the Porto Criminal Investigation Court, for the application of coercive measures.

“Operation Babel focuses on the violation of norms and instruction of urban licensing processes in favor of promoters associated with projects of high density and magnitude, involving real estate interests in the order of 300 million euros, through the offer and acceptance of pecuniary compensation”, explained the Judiciary Police (PJ), in a statement.

During the police operation, according to the PJ, 55 home and non-domestic searches were carried out, in various areas of the national territory, in municipalities and various public services, as well as companies related to the urban universe.

The Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia city councils, as well as Metro do Porto, were three of the target locations for searches.

“At this stage, 12 defendants have already been appointed, with the detainees, a political office holder [vice-presidente da autarquia de Gaia]two employees of municipal services, an employee of the Northern Regional Directorate of Culture, two businessmen and a liberal professional, indicted for the crimes of receiving or offering undue advantages, active and passive corruption, prevarication and abuse of power practiced by and about an official or holder of political office”, reported the PJ.

The municipality of Gaia previously guaranteed that, “as is evident, all the elements were provided” [à PJ] and that the mayor, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues (PS), “expressly instructed the services to provide all the elements necessary for legal investigations”.

According to that autarchy, “the issues were duly documented, keeping the services fully available to collaborate with Justice and with the investigation”.

In a statement at the end of the morning, the Porto City Council stated that the PJ’s searches in municipal urban planning services do not target the municipality, but private companies with urban processes to be processed there.

In addition, the municipality confirmed that the PJ was analyzing two mobile phones, without going ahead with who they belong to.

Previously, a source from the Porto Chamber confirmed that the cell phones of the Urbanism councilor, Pedro Baganha, and a head of the Urbanism division had been seized.

Source: Correio da Manhã by

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