The Public Ministry has no doubt that “the defendant and mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, acted for his own benefit and that of his family”.
The Public Ministry (MP) has no doubts when it comes to “criminal performance”By the Mayor of Porto (CMP), Rui Moreira, in the Selminho case, reiterating that it benefited the family’s real estate to the detriment of the municipality.
The position appears in the response of MP Nuno Serdoura’s attorney to the Request for the Opening of Instruction (RAI) presented by the defense of Rui Moreira, who invoked, among other arguments, the nullity of the accusation, considering it “manifestly unfounded, due to the lack of elements objectives of the legal type of crime attributed to the accused – prevarication ”.
“Once again, taking into account the factuality described in the indictment, there is no doubt that there is a narration of how the defendant Rui Moreira acted for your own benefit and that of your family, and to the detriment of the interests of the CMP that it was responsible for defending, it is not possible to defend that the facts attributed to it are […] irrelevant penalties ”, reads the six-page document, next to the case file, consulted by the Lusa agency at the Criminal Instruction Court (TIC) of Porto.
In December, the MP accused the independent mayor of prevarication, in an apparent contest with a crime of abuse of power, incurring also the loss of mandate, for allegedly favoring his family’s real estate (Selminho), already during his mandate (took office on October 23, 2013), to the detriment of autarchy.
This, in a judicial conflict that opposed the municipality for several years to the real estate company, which intended to build a land on the escarpment of Arrábida.
“The indictment brought against the accused contains all the objective and subjective elements of the practice of any of these crimes, and it cannot be said, as has been intended, that the facts described in the indictment do not manifestly constitute a crime”, warns the prosecutor in charge of the investigation , rejecting the existence of any nullity of the prosecution.
The prosecution of a case is an optional phase that aims to decide by an investigating judge whether the case proceeds and in what manner for judgment.
The holder of a political office who consciously conducts or decides against the law a process in which he intervenes in the exercise of his functions, with the intention of, in this way, harming or benefiting someone commits the crime of malfeasance.
The MP recalls that he accused Rui Moreira “for facts practiced in the exercise of functions of mayor, given that he issued a forensic power of attorney [ao advogado Pedro Neves de Sousa, mandatário do município] in lawsuit [que corria termos no Tribunal Administrativo e Fiscal do Porto], in which Selminho, a company belonging to the mayor’s family and himself, demanded CMP ”.
“In spite of not being unaware of the dispute between the municipality and Selminho, in total disrespect for the Statute of Local Elect”, the prosecution says that Rui Moreira, on behalf of the municipality, signed the forensic power of attorney, on November 28, 2013, little more than a month after assuming the presidency of the autarchy.
The MP adds that “criminal performance“Of the mayor is not limited to the granting of the forensic power of attorney,” but continues with the intervention of the accused in a judicial process in which the company Selminho benefited, and then in all the concealment of this performance “.
In addition, according to the MP’s response to RAI, the mayor “usurped administrative skills of the Municipal Assembly, not only linking the authority to which it presided to amend the PDM [Plano Diretor Municipal], in terms that illegally benefited Selminho ”, but also giving orders to the municipal representative.
“The defendant also ordered the lawyer, who in that action represented the CMP, to enter into an arbitration commitment and a judicial transaction where he was obliged to change the PDM, according to Selminho’s claim, in 2016, or to indemnify the Selminho in case this did not happen, and that, in doing so, removed the cause from the sphere of the administrative judicial court for surrender to an arbitral tribunal, without any basis for that ”, emphasizes the MP, in response to the Request for Opening of Instruction, signed by lawyers Tiago Rodrigues Bastos and Filipa Elias.
Azeredo Lopes listed as a witness
Azeredo Lopes, former chief of staff of the mayor of Porto, is one of the two dozen witnesses listed by the Public Ministry (MP) in the process.
The former Defense Minister, who before joining the Government was Rui Moreira’s chief of staff after taking office as Mayor of Porto (CMP), on October 23, 2013, is one of the 20 names on the list of witnesses of the prosecution of the MP.
In the Request for the Opening of Investigations (RAI), an optional phase that aims to decide by an investigating judge whether the process continues and in what molds for trial, Rui Moreira’s defense denies that its constituent has committed any crime or benefited the family’s real estate company, defending the nullity of the accusation, considering it “manifestly unfounded”.
At RAI, consulted by Lusa at the Criminal Instruction Court (ICT) of Porto, Moreira’s defense admits that the mayor had a role “less warned or inattentive”, When he issued the forensic power of attorney to lawyer Pedro Neves de Sousa to represent the municipality in the judicial litigation, which ran under terms in the Administrative and Tax Court (TAF) of Porto, in which, according to the MP, Selminho,“ company of the family of the mayor and himself, demanded the CMP ”.
“In fact, it appears that there was a less informed or inattentive intervention by the participant [Rui Moreira], for which the interference of his then chief of staff would have been decisive [Azeredo Lopes]”, Says RAI, with more than 100 pages.
At the meeting of the municipal executive on December 21, 2020, Moreira stated that the only act he practiced, as mayor, “was to have granted a power of attorney to some lawyers he didn’t know ”and with whom he never spoke,“ much less on the subject, so that they could represent the chamber in a diligence of the lawsuit filed against ”the municipality.
The mayor justified the issuance of the forensic power of attorney, just over a month after taking office, because his chief of staff, Azeredo Lopes, assured him not only that there was no problem in doing so, how was your obligation.
“The lawyers in question have been sponsoring the chamber in this case for a long time, by choice of my predecessor [Rui Rio], and I didn’t think of replacing them ”, declared Rui Moreira, before the municipal executive.
In RAI, the defendant’s defense maintains that the case file “does not reveal any evidence that it can be withdrawn” that its constituent “has ever acted with the intention of harming the municipality or benefiting Selminho”.
According to the defense, “the granting of a power of attorney to represent the municipality in a procedural step”, without further ado, “does not appear to be able to put at risk the impartial way in which the municipality positioned itself in the aforementioned litigation ”.
The defense of Rui Moreira required the inquiry of lawyer Pedro Neves de Sousa as “the only investigative step,“ for having direct knowledge of the relevant facts ”, as he was the municipality’s representative in the dispute between Selminho and the municipality, in the TAF of Porto.
The inquiry was dismissed by the ICT of Porto, recalling that, already in the investigation phase, Pedro Neves de Sousa, claimed professional secrecy, which led the MP to request its withdrawal, which was not accepted by the Regional Council of the Bar Association.
The “legitimacy of the excuse” was confirmed by a judgment of the Porto Court of Appeal, issued on July 1, 2020.
In view of the rejection, the defense of the Mayor of Porto presented a complaint, which awaits decision.
In the case file is an order from the Regional Attorney General of Porto determining that the prosecutors Nuno Serdoura and Ana Margarida dos Santos, holders of the investigation and responsible for the prosecution, should be the representatives of the Public Prosecutor in the investigation phase.
Maria Almeida Ferreira justifies the decision for these attorneys to have “a deep knowledge” of the process “of special factual and evidential complexity and of great social repercussion”. The instructional phase will take place at the ICT of Porto, in charge of Judge Maria Antónia Ribeiro.