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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Portugal's Defence Chief Quits Amid Arms Theft Case


7Dnews London - Reuters

Sat, 13 Oct 2018 18:56 GMT

Portuguese Defence Minister Jose Azeredo Lopes resigned on Friday amid an investigation into a suspected army cover-up of a weapons theft last year, a ministry spokesman said.

As reported by Reuters, Prime Minister Antonio Costa accepted the resignation after having firmly defended his minister during a parliament debate on Wednesday where he said he had his trust and should remain in office. Azeredo Lopes denied any wrongdoing. 

Several military police and gendarmerie officials were arrested at the end of September on suspicion of organising a military conspiracy with the robbers who managed to escape the authorities' grip.

According to the local press, a military judicial police official confirmed during the interrogation that the Ministry of Defense had received a report describing the planned operation to retrieve the equipment.

At the end of June 2017, unidentified persons infiltrated an arms depot of the mainland army in Tancos, central Portugal, and stole 150 hand grenades, 44 anti-tank missiles, 18 gas liquefied bombs and 1,450 bullets. 

The weapons were found in an empty land, 20 km from the warehouse.