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Portuguese President of EU Prosecutors Organization Quits Amid Lisbon Corruption Probe

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Associated Press
12/17/09
Barry Hatton

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS — The EU prosecutors’ organization Eurojust announced Thursday its Portuguese president has resigned after two years in office as he faces a corruption probe at home.

Jose Luis Lopes da Mota’s decision followed a Portuguese Public Prosecutor’s office disciplinary committee’s announcement that it has suspended him for 30 days.

The committee ruled that Lopes da Mota had earlier this year pressured two Portuguese investigating magistrates to drop their probe into alleged bribery by a British real estate developer to obtain government approval for a large shopping mall near Lisbon.

Lopes da Mota, who was appointed by the governing Socialist Party, denied the committee’s charges and said he will appeal against the disciplinary procedure.

The ongoing investigation caused a scandal involving Socialist Party members, including current Prime Minister Jose Socrates who was environment minister at the time of the 2002 licensing of the Freeport shopping mall which lies partly in a protected nature area. Socrates has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Eurojust is expected to vote on a new president in January. The Hague-based organization was set up to improve judicial cooperation between EU members.

ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE.

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