Three officials of the public entity and two businessmen were arrested by the Judiciary Police on suspicion of corruption, economic participation in business and influence peddling

The president of the Tourism of the North, Melchior Moreira, two other leaders of the same entity and two businessmen were today arrested by the Northern Direction of the Judiciary Police, for suspicions of corruption, influence peddling and economic participation in business.

Melchior Moreira has been the Regional Tourism Authority of Porto and Northern Portugal since 2008, was re-elected last June and has already been a member of the Assembly of the Republic, elected by the PSD. Natural of Lamego, Moreira, 54 years old, already was also councilman in the Camera of Lamego.

According to PJ, Operation Ether investigates “the presumed repeated and continued practice of the vitiation of public procurement procedures, whose values ​​amount to several million euros”.

“The investigation, centred on the activity of a public legal person, determined the existence of a generalized scheme,  fraudulent vitiation of tender procedures and direct adjustment with the aim of favouring groups of companies, hiring human resources and the use of public resources to meet particular interests, “said the statement from the PJ.

Eleven household and household searches were carried out in the regions of Porto, Gaia, Matosinhos, Lamego, Viseu and Viana do Castelo, and 50 elements of the Judicial Police were involved, including inspectors, computer experts and financial and accounting experts.

This process had already begun months ago, with a series of searches to be carried out last June. At the time, besides the facilities of Turismo do Porto and Norte, the headquarters of Sporting de Braga and Vitória de Guimarães, as well as the Câmara de Viseu, were searched.

The president of the tourism promotion body is suspected of having vacationed in the Algarve with the expenses to be paid by his alleged corruptors.

The detainees, aged between 42 and 54, three officials of public entity and two businessmen, will be present tomorrow the judicial interrogation.