Tutti Frutti. Scheme in Lisbon paid dozens of fees to PSD “boys” – Portugal

Operation Tutti Frutti investigates suspicions of corruption in several city councils in the country. The PSD even set up a payment scheme for party members who did not perform any function, defends the Public Ministry, according to TVI/CNN reported this Wednesday. At stake are crimes of corruption, influence peddling, economic participation in business and prohibited financing.

Sérgio Azevedo, former vice-president of the PSD parliamentary group and member of the Lisbon Municipal Assembly, will be the “boss” of this web. He is suspected of having coordinated a scheme that involved “obtaining patrimonial (and non-patrimonial) advantages at the expense of the public purse”, controlling structures of several municipalities in the country. The social democrat is suspected of having awarded fees, public contracts and distributing “pots” to various PSD figures over the years. Helping him were Carlos Eduardo Reis and Luís Newton, two well-known PSD-Lisbon figures. In a telephone conversation, Carlos Eduardo Reis was even caught saying: “Here in Portugal, the political parties themselves control the State and the machine”. Sérgio Azevedo replies: “If the PJ had more means, everything would be fucked”. The MP defends that, among others, Sérgio Azevedo gave agreements to three social democratic activists to provide technical support services to the PSD group in the Municipal Assembly of Lisbon: Patrícia Leitão, Filipa Lages and Nuno Vitoriano. All received allowances between 1,500 and 1,900 euros per month in 2013, but did not have to submit work in exchange for this amount. “In the last term there were people who would only go there to sign the receipt, receiving it without working”, even admitted, in 2017, Sérgio Azevedo, in a telephone conversation quoted by TVI/CNN. Prosecutor Andrea Marques believes that Sérgio Azevedo, since he headed the party’s bench in the Lisbon municipal assembly in 2013, began to open seats for his friends and pay them large sums. The scheme was maintained over several years, even after Azevedo left office. Enter Luís Newton, president of the Lisbon PSD council and president of the Parish Council of Estrela, who will have been instrumental in maintaining the “machine” of covenants.

The television report issued this Wednesday advances even though this group even paid membership dues to militants in order to win elections. But not only through votes was there an attempt to maintain the network. In 2017, when he ran for PSD council in the capital, José Eduardo Martins ended up slamming the door due to an alleged “palace coup” in the district, which gave victory to Newton, Sérgio Azevedo’s trusted man.

In 2018, the first searches of the Tutti Frutti operation were carried out, a fact advanced at the time by SATURDAY. The process, according to TVI/CNN, has about 11,000 pages of suspicions and investigations, and attachments that include wiretaps, bank details, seized emails and documents. No charges have yet been filed.

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