Former Olhão councillor sentenced to 9 years for mega fraud of illegal appropriation of buildings
The Judicial Court of Faro was the stage, this Wednesday afternoon, for the reading of the ruling, despite the strike of judicial employees during the investigations, of a mega fraud case.
More than 30 people were accused of fraud and forgery crimes, for having appropriated land and houses that did not belong to them. One of the accused was João Pereira, former councillor of the Olhão Chamber, who was sentenced to nine years in prison.
More than 20 buildings in Olhão, Faro and Albufeira were illegally appropriated in a scheme in which the leader was the former councillor of Olhão.
The former councillor of Bloco de Esquerda (BE) was suspected of organizing the necessary documentation and presenting it to the notary at the Olhão Notary Office, accompanying the justifications. In some cases, he was also a witness to the facts that served to justify possession by adverse possession. It was João Pereira who, as a rule, registered with the land registry offices. The notary from the Olhão Notary Office was one of the accused, but was acquitted of all crimes.
The public deeds of justification were carried out at the Olhão Notary's Office, stating that the buildings in question had been sold or donated verbally in the 1980s. More than 20 buildings in Olhão, Faro and Albufeira were illegally appropriated.
João Pereira isthe first activist expelled in the history of BE, for allegedly “failing to tell the truth” about several processes, including an alleged fraudulent bankruptcy of a company and debts to the tax authorities.
Of the 32 defendants, two were sentenced to effective prison sentences, 16 to suspended prison sentences and one to a fine. The rest were acquitted.
The trial had started in March and ended this Wednesday.
Sérgio Martins, the president of the Parish Council of Santa Bárbara de Nexe, in Faro, was the first to warn about this situation. Between 2019 and 2020, Sérgio Martins published two videos on Facebook about the issue.
Faro Airport: carnage again in the arrivals area
Faro Airport once again has suffered an overcrowded arrivals area this week, as the video below shows thousands of people in queues, waiting.
CLICK HERE to see the video.
According to reports “the number of passengers embarking and disembarking at Faro Airport increased by 19.2% in July, compared to the same period last year. Compared to the same period in 2019, the pre-pandemic year, there was an increase of 5.4%”.
One of the people waiting in line made a post on Facebook exposing the situation, saying, “this is the Algarve International Airport, or Gago Coutinho Airport, as it was recently renamed. One person at passport control, two hours for passengers to exit or enter. Thank you to the SEF staff and the management of Faro Airport for this wonderful illustrated postcard of the largest gateway for tourists in the region”.
Since at least May this year, it seems anyone entering or leaving the Schengen area, as is the case in England, could spend hours boarding and disembarking, with queues and waiting times much longer than usual.
Illegal caravanners and campers return
With the drop in temperatures, illegal caravanners and campers are back in force across the Algarve, with GNR detecting more than 80 'infractions' in Aljezur and Vila do Bispo on Monday night alone.
During the inspections that took place, with “special focus on the Southwest Alentejano and Costa Vicentina Natural Park", GNR found more than 80 caravans, camper vans and tents making illegal overnight stays and parking in improper locations.
Three administrative offense reports for drug consumption were also made.
The GNR warns that it will continue to encourage caravanists and campers to adopt responsible and environmentally friendly behaviour, especially in protected areas.
First underwater exhibition opens off the coast at Albufeira
Around a dozen exhibit pieces make up the first ever underwater exhibition off the Portuguese coast, at Albufeira, as part of a project brought together by the artist Vhils and EDP.
Over the last six months, the exhibit works have been submerged around two miles off the coast of Albufeira, in an area covering approximately 150 metres. Some of them will only be revealed in a few years, "after nature has had time to take its course", the artist told journalists.
"Pieces were submerged because some are part reef and entirely designed to add life, but which will later unfold into pieces as well”, said Vhils, at the inauguration of thi unusual project, next to Santa Eulália beach, in Albufeira.
According to Alexandre Farto, known as Vhils, the EDP Art Reef artistic intervention is a journey through the various pieces installed in that space, which tells a story that unfolds with various elements and depths, there are even pieces with which you can interact, he revealed.
“I tried to find several stories of our relationship as humans with the sea, a story made up of subsistence, confrontation, tensions, but also trying to look for various points in which our history met the sea”, he explained.
The artist has no doubts in assuming that this was his most complex and challenging work, not only because it involved a team of many people, but also because it was at the bottom of the sea, a place in constant movement and where human presence is not natural.
Asked by journalists about how quickly he expects natural action to modify the pieces that were submerged there, Vhils says that almost all of his work is ephemeral, but emphasizes that, in the case of this project, the intention is for the sea to “take over” the parts.
“Here in particular, the pieces are really designed for the sea to take care of them. This already happens in some and the pieces are also made to evolve”, he continued, reiterating that some of them will only be revealed later.
Before being submerged 12 metres deep, the works that Vhils created using parts from old coal and fuel thermoelectric plants, which have since been deactivated, were on display at the EDP headquarters in Lisbon.
The works were designed taking into account the promotion of an ecosystem favorable to the growth of coral reefs and the appearance of forms of marine fauna and flora, designed to generate a new artificial reef.
Present at the inauguration of the project, EDP's markets director, Catarina Barradas, said that the challenge was to take parts from deactivated power plants and give them a different look, a mission that was handed over to Vhils.
“We worked with a series of scientific institutions to ensure that what we were doing was the best for that ecosystem”, assured the person in charge, noting that the project will contribute positively to its development.
The pieces, which can only be visited through qualified diving, were designed to allow the passage of local fauna, with live corals rescued and preserved in captivity, being installed at their base.
The exhibition site will be monitored over the next few years, being available for scientific and environmental study, in addition to its cultural and awareness-raising aspects.
The EDP Art Reef was developed with the support of entities such as Albufeira City Council, Turismo de Portugal and the Marine Science Center of the University of Algarve, and validated by the Directorate-General for Natural Resources and the Portuguese Environment Agency, among others.
The submersion of the pieces was licensed by the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation and the National Maritime Authority.
Rafael is walking from Porto to Faro to raise money for children with cancer
Rafael Reis, 18 years old, is walking from Porto to Faro to raise €2,000 for “Acreditar”, the Association of Parents and Friends of Children with Cancer.
The young man from Vila Nova de Gaia is studying Accounting at ISCAP in Porto, and came up with idea after a conversation with a friend in the summer.
“I knew it was something innovative and that it could reach some people. Therefore, I thought I would take advantage of the situation and appeal for donations. Touch as many hearts as possible”, he said.
The “Acreditar” Association was the first charity that came to mind because he appreciates the work that has been done over the last few years and because he loves children. “I have a 10-year-old sister with a cognitive disability and I have always been very close to the youngest. My mother takes care of three children alone and I know the difficulties that many families go through. That was my biggest motivation”, revealed Rafael.
The association loved the idea. It was then that the young man “locked himself in his room for the rest of the summer” to do all the planning.
To document the solidarity mission, he created the Instagram page “Desencaminhados”. The plan was to go with a friend, but due to heart problems, Rafael embarked on this adventure alone.
The journey began on September 4th in the middle of the D. Luís Bridge, in Porto. He only took a backpack weighing around 13 kilos, where he stores his clothes and tent.
Rafael, who has already covered more than 400 kilometers, is currently on his way to Almodôvar, district of Beja. He has already passed through Estarreja, Cantanhede, Almagreira, Fátima, Alcanena, Santarém, Coruche, Montemor-o-Novo, Aljustrel and Castro Verde, sleeping in fire stations several times.
He already has very interesting stories to tell. On the second day of the journey, a lady offered him a bag of food, but Rafael couldn't carry so much weight on his back. “She told me not to worry and offered me a wheelbarrow. I went to Coruche with her and managed to take the food. The most boring part is the climbs, but the generosity of the people who offer these things has been incredible”, he says.
The mental part of the challenge is the most complicated, according to the young man, “I found myself finding excuses to give up, but I have a very strong mind”. Rafael only thinks about raising as much money as possible to help “Acreditar”. “Every cent counts and every donation is worth it.” So far he has raised around 500 euros, however he wants to reach 2,000 euros before arriving in the Algarve.
Donations can be sent to “Acreditar” MBWay (916 897 230), or to IBAN (PT50 0033 0000 00117854031 05), with “Desencaminhados” in the description.
“It has a special meaning. At the age of 18, we are all looking for something to do in life, something to work on. We are misguided and I am doing this precisely to find my place”, he says.
Another European chain opens a new store in the Algarve
German chain store TEDi will open its first store in the the Algarve, in Lagos, on September 28th, in Largo do Infantário.
The brand, known for its decorative items, home products and stationery and crafts at low prices, already has stores in Guimarães, Maia, Barcelos, Águeda and Vila do Conde in Portugal, since 2022.
Portugal is increasingly becoming a country for foreign investment, not just real estate investment, but for the opening of new chain stores. In recent months chain stores such as Polish Pepco, German Kik and Danish Normal have all opened new stores in Portugal.
The brand already had stores in Guimarães, Maia, Barcelos, Águeda and Vila do Conde. The next opening will be in the Algarve, more specifically, in Lagos. The chain's new space opens on September 28th, in Largo do Infantário.
TEDi was created in 2004, in Dortmund, Germany. The brand has around 2800 stores spread across 12 European countries: Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Portugal. The company employs more than 28,000 people.
In addition to offering products similar to those of Ikea, the German retailer's logo of yellow and blue, resembles that of the Swedish company too. The brand's strategy focuses on selling items at affordable prices and smaller in size.
TEDi identifies itself as a "local, family-friendly provider with a presence not only in urban areas but also in rural regions." The company offers a wide range of products that include products for everyday needs, gifts, decorative items, toys and stationery, as well as party, DIY and drug store items.
The brand's strategy foresaw the opening of at least six stores in Portugal. With five establishments already operating in the country, this imminent opening will allow TEDi to achieve its established objective.
GNR investigate animals poisoned in Albufeira and Silves
During a GNR investigation concerning animals being poisoned in the countryside of Paderne and Algoz, a police tracking dog even became a victim.
Hundreds of animals have died from alleged poisoning after eating contaminated meat in the municipalities of Albufeira and Silves, which is why the GNR is in the process of investigating.
“There are more than 40 traps spread across these hunting areas. Those who place them do so in the early hours of the morning and use small pieces of poisoned chicken.”
The practice of poisoning animals is not new and residents of Paderne, in Albufeira, have been complaining for more than 20 years. However, recently, the situation has been getting worse. In Algoz, Silves the situation is the same.
According to a Paderne resident , “this week at least two dogs have eaten contaminated meat: one survived, the other ended up dying. Dogs, cats, sheep, the list is long.”
It's not just domestic animals and livestock that are affected. Animals such as foxes, eagles and mongoose also die from these poisonings.
According to Portuguese newspapers, the poison used is a pesticide banned in Portugal, responsible for thousands of deaths.
Animal owners, please be vigilant!
What are the symptoms of animal poisoning?
Foaming at the mouth, lethargy, shaking or unusual movements, upset stomach, unusual swelling, pale gums, or behavioral changes.
What to do if you think your dog's been poisoned.
Stay calm and move your dog away from the source of poison. Contact your vet immediately - inform them when, where and how the poisoning happened. If possible, take the packaging or substance to the vet, but only if you can do this safely.