Controversy in Portugal: Costa gets involved in Benfica's elections

The prime minister of Portugal, the socialist António Costa, has opened a strong controversy in the country by accepting to be part of the list of support for the new candidacy for the presidency of the Benfica of Luis Filipe Vieira, involved in various court cases.

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The name of the prime minister is the most prominent within the so-called “commission of honor” of the candidacy, a list that simply seeks to show the public figures that support a candidate, in this case Scallop, and that is made up of 500 personalities.

Among them the mayor of Lisbon, the also socialist Fernando Medina, and also deputies of the conservative parties PSD and CDS, in addition to the president of the Portuguese Business Confederation, António Saraiva.

Coast supports Scallop, who directs the club incarnate since 2003 and finalizes his candidacy for October, not yet officially presented, “not as prime minister or secretary general of the Socialist Party, but as a fan and partner of Benfica since 1988 “, defends his cabinet, which recalls that it already supported him in previous elections.

It was in 2012 when Coast he was mayor of Lisbon, and in 2016, when he was already leading the Government, but then Scallop was not yet being investigated by the JusticeCritics point to this support.

Scallop is formally accused in the process of the call Operation Lex, in which it is investigated whether a judge favored him by influencing in his favor in a tax process with the promise of receiving a position in the Benfica Foundation.

In addition, at the end of last year it became known that it appears in the cars investigating the fall of the Espírito Santo Bank (BES) as suspected of having benefited from a fraudulent scheme of the entity.

“Knowing today that the prime minister sees it as normal to be part of a commission of honor of someone who is one of the biggest debtors to Novo Bank and that is involved in the problem of BES it does not look good “, said the coordinator of the Marxist Block of Esquerda, Catarina martins.

The leader of the PSD, at the head of the opposition, has also attacked him saying that the support of Coast “Has no sense”.

“The mix between politics and professional football always seemed wrong to me. In the past I fought that and I walked away. Today there are even judicial order problems involved in this,” he said.

The animal party BREAD, historical socialists, the Civic Association Integrity and Transparency and another of the candidates for the presidency of the Benfica, João Noronha Lopes, have also criticized Coast, who refuses to comment on his position because he understands it private.

“I am not going to make any comment on an issue that has nothing to do with political life or with the functions that I exercise or perform,” he told reporters.

Asked about the torrent of criticism received by the other politicians, the prime minister replied that “freedom of expression is, fortunately, something that exists in Portugal“.

More indignant has been shown Scallop, who considers that the comments are “crossing all limits” and is the victim of a “shameful campaign”.

“I never saw, and I have been here for many years, such an offensive and slanderous campaign,” he said.