On November 7, 2023, António Costa resigned from his position as Prime Minister of Portugal following searches at his residence as part of the Operation Influencer corruption investigation ordered by the Public Prosecution Service of Portugal.
The investigation by the prosecutor’s office was opened after the journalistic investigation, which was broadcast on the Sexta às 9 of the national public broadcaster Radio and Television of Portugal (RTP) in 2019. The Sexta às 9 journalists uncovered suspicious details related to a concession contract for exploration of the Romano lithium mine in Montalegre, located near the Portuguese border with Spain. This included a government license for lithium mining in the area issued to a company claiming to have more than a million euros in capital but possessing only about 50,000 euros.
Now, the Public Prosecution Service of Portugal is engaged in the most extensive investigation into corruption, bribery and other malfeasance within government institutions for deals on the Romano mine in Montalegre, the Barroso mine in Boticas, the H2Sines and the Sines 4.0 data centre projects in Sines, which have long been concealed. Searches have been ordered in several government agencies, private properties, lawyer offices, and public and company offices.
Freedom of the press ensures government transparency and accountability to citizens. Through their investigation, journalists helped uncover the crime and launch an investigation into the largest corruption scandal in Portugal.