The Internationalization, Tax Affairs and Industry State secretaries requested their exoneration because of the trips they accepted from Galp to attend the 2016 UEFA European Championship.
The Internationalization, Tax Affairs and Industry State secretaries requested this Sunday to be exonerated from their offices, after having asked the Public Prosecutor to be made defendants in the inquiry about the flights given by Galp to attend the 2016 UEFA European Championship’ football games. The prime-minister António Costa has accepted the request.
“The undersigned made a request to the prime-minister to be exonerated from their offices”, is declared in a joint statement from the State secretary for Internationalization Jorge Costa Oliveira; the State secretary for Tax Affairs Fernando Rocha Andrade and the Industry State secretary João Vasconcelos. They justify the decision with their intention of not harming the Government.
“I couldn’t deny them their right to resign”, stated the Portuguese PM, adding he accepted the exoneration requests “even though the Public Prosecutor did not make any formal accusation”, states António Costa. However, the Portuguese online newspaper Observador discloses that the three State secretaries are suspects of the crime of passive bribery.
The three governors mention they decided to “exercise their right to request the Public Prosecutor to be made into defendants”, after having acknowledged that “several people were heard by the Prosecutor and were made into defendants within the inquiries related to the flights organized by Portuguese football team’s official sponsor [Galp], during the European 2016 Championship”.
Jorge Costa Oliveira, Fernando Rocha Andrade and João Vasconcelos stated they have always been clear about what happened and “reaffirm their strong conviction that their behavior was in no way illicit”. “However, in current circumstances, they believe they can no longer continue in office and give their best contribution to the Government, which they do not want to harm”, they mention, about their exoneration request.
The three State secretaries accepted, last year, Galp’s invitation to attend Portugal’s football matches in the 2016 UEFA European Championship. Galp clarified it is a “common” and “ethically acceptable” practice to invite entities the company works with to certain events. “Everyone travels together, very openly and transparently, in a charter flight of general access, without any secrecy or different treatment, taking off and returning on the day of the football match”, stated Galp last Summer.