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Investigation into former Portuguese prime minister is ongoing, prosecutors say

A legal investigation into the resignation of Portugal’s former prime minister and future EU Council leader is underway, the country’s attorney general said late on Monday (8), adding that she did not know when it would end.

António Costa, 62, stepped down as prime minister last November due to an investigation by the Portuguese public prosecutor’s office into alleged illegalities in his government’s management of several major investment projects.

The prosecutors’ case largely fell apart after judges at the Lisbon Court of Appeal and Portugal’s Ombudsman said the investigation was based on speculation rather than evidence.

Costa has denied any wrongdoing, has never been charged with a crime and will succeed Belgian Charles Michel as the next president of the European Council, despite fears the investigation could jeopardise his ambitions for a top EU job.

In a rare interview with public broadcaster RTP, Attorney General Lucilia Gago said that prosecutors do not need strong evidence to investigate and that they have an obligation to do so regardless of the person under suspicion.

“There is no one above the law,” Gago said.

Although the Lisbon Court of Appeal said there was no strong evidence of wrongdoing, Gago said the investigation remains open and ongoing.

“I don’t know how long (the investigation) will take, nor the outcome,” Gago said. “What I want to emphasize is that the investigation continues… If the investigation has not been closed, it is because something is preventing it (from being closed).”

Gago said it was unlikely there had been a mistake, as prosecutors in charge of such investigations have a high level of expertise and treat all available evidence with “great care”.

Since Costa’s resignation, which triggered elections in March, prosecutors have faced criticism for allegedly investigating him without having a credible case. A judge dropped corruption charges against several people who had been formally charged.

Source: CNN Brasil

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