Costa submitted his resignation to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa earlier in the day. In a statement, he denied corruption accusations but said he preferred to step down to focus on his defense.
The country's attorney general (AG) has already announced that a criminal case will be filed against Costa. The AG was also received by the Portuguese president, who was informed about the search operations that resulted in the arrest of five people, including Vitor Escaria, Costa's chief of staff.
Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba, and the President of the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), Nuno Lacasta, were also named as formal suspects.
GOVERNO SOCIALISTA CAI EM PORTUGAL
���� O primeiro-ministro português, António Costa demitiu-se esta tarde, após ser noticiado de que está a ser investigado por prevaricação, corrupção e tráfico de influências num negócios de lítio e hidrogénio. Costa disse que não se recandidata. pic.twitter.com/yHccN9fiIf
The text reads, "The socialist government falls in Portugal. This afternoon, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa resigned, after it was reported that he was being investigated for embezzlement, corruption and influence peddling in a lithium and hydrogen deal. Costa said that he will not run again."
According to the AG's office, the inquiry focuses on the alleged crimes of prevarication, active and passive corruption, and influence peddling. The investigation also focuses on lithium exploration concessions in Portugal, as well as a hydrogen energy production plant project.
Over the weekend, Sabado magazine revealed that this case was opened after a complaint in 2019 according to which the Portuguese Government had favored Portuguese companies that were part of a consortium to build an industrial green hydrogen project in Sines.
Researchers are also analyzing a 50-year concession to the firm Lusorecursos for the exploitation of Lithium in the Montalegre area. This case also dates back to 2019 when Joao Galamba, then Energy Secretary and current Infrastructure Minister, granted Lusorecursos Portugal Lithium authorization to carry out lithium exploration.