In a statement, the Public Security Police said that it carried out 50 home and non-home searches in the municipalities of Braga, Vila Verde, Vila Nova de Famalicão, Guimarães, Vizela, Fafe, Amarante, Lousada, Gondomar, Porto, Matosinhos, Valongo, Loures, Lisbon, Agualva-Cacém, Azambuja, Vila Franca de Xira, Seixal, Palmela, Setúbal, Silves, Lagoa and Portimão.

According to the PSP, searches were carried out at a law firm, the Mobility and Transport Institute (IMT) and seven vehicle technical inspection centres (CITV).

That security force states that the police operation stemmed from an investigation which started in 2017, involving crimes of corruption and document falsification related to the activity of periodic vehicle inspection (MOT’s).

Fraudulent scheme

The PSP indicates that evidence was collected that some suspects created in the centres “a fraudulent scheme that allowed the approval of vehicles without noting the deficiencies that the vehicles presented or without adopting legally mandatory inspection procedures, improperly receiving patrimonial and non-patrimonial advantages, delivered by customers” of the MOT centres.

The PSP also underlines that other people are under investigation who may have facilitated the completion of some deals or favoured these companies, namely with public entities.

The PSP reports that, in the face of such indications and “because of, among others, the danger of continuing criminal activity and disturbance of public order and tranquillity”, the Public Ministry proceeded to issue arrest warrants and so far 34 arrests have been made.

According to the police, the searches and arrests are the culmination of the investigation carried out in three separate inquiries, started in 2017, 2019 and 2020.