Lawyer André Navarro de Noronha, who represents Custódio Correia, the main shareholder of the group linked to the construction industry Socicorreia, was the first to arrive at the Justice Campus, and the interrogation began with this businessman.

On Saturday, a judicial source said that the investigation should begin with businessman Custódio Correia, followed by Avelino Farinha, leader of the construction group AFA, and, finally, the now-former mayor of Funchal Pedro Calado, who on Monday- fair formalized his resignation from his position.

Speaking to journalists upon arrival at the court, Avelino Farinha's lawyer, Raul Soares da Veiga, explained that he did not know what time his constituent would make statements, adding that “it will be after the first one”, but “there is no right time ”.

Asked about his client's state of mind, considering he has been detained for seven days, Raul Soares da Veiga said that he is “with great presence of mind, as he knows he did nothing wrong. He is a person of great strength”.

Soares da Veiga also said that he asked the court to attend the interrogations of the remaining detainees, but that the response from Judge Jorge Bernandes de Melo, who is leading the process, is not yet known.

Also upon arrival at the court, the lawyer for the former mayor of Funchal, Paulo Sá e Cunha, said he did not know whether Pedro Calado would be heard today, taking into account the strike by judicial employees during overtime.

Therefore, if the forecast for the interrogations to end at 5:30 pm remains, "he will probably not be heard", he stated.

The interrogations were scheduled to begin on Saturday but were postponed until Monday, but the lawyers demanded to see the documents seized in the searches, which postponed the hearings again until today, according to a judicial source.

Pedro Calado, Avelino Farinha and Custódio Correia were arrested on Wednesday, following around 130 home and non-home searches carried out by the PJ, mainly in Madeira, but also in the Azores and in several areas of the continent.

The operation also affected the president of the Regional Government (PSD/CDS-PP), Miguel Albuquerque, who was named a defendant and made his resignation from his position official on Monday, which he had announced on Friday.

At issue are suspicions of active and passive corruption, economic participation in business, malfeasance, receiving or offering improper advantages, abuse of powers and influence peddling, according to the PJ.

According to court documents to which Lusa had access, the Public Ministry states that the president of the Regional Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque (PSD), the former president of the Funchal City Council Pedro Calado (PSD) and the leader of the group construction company AFA, Avelino Farinha, established, “over time, a relationship of particular closeness and trust” that will have benefited that business group “in defiance of the rules of free competition and public procurement”.

Among the contracts subject to criminal investigation, according to court documents are the concession of public road passenger transport service on the island of Madeira, the concession of the Curral das Freiras Cable Car, the Praia Formosa project and Funchal Jazz 2022- 2023.