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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Prosecutors shelve probe into church's alleged illegal adoption ring




Lisbon, May 20, 2019 (Lusa) – Public prosecutors in Portugal have shelved a criminal investigation into an alleged illegal adoption network under the aegis of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a Brazil-based neo-Pentecostal church usually known as the IURD, an official in the attorney-general's office has told Lusa.
"It is confirmed that the investigation has been formally shelved," the source said.
In the order to shelve the investigation, which began in late 2017 following a report by the TVI television station, the office of public prosecutions notes that the statute of limitations applies for the crimes in question, which are alleged to have taken place in the 1990s.
Despite this, according to a report in Expresso newspaper, the prosecutor revealed in the document that the allegations made by the biological parents of children alleged to have been illegally targeted for adoption were rejected by investigators, after police experts’ examination of the signatures of two mothers of adopted children.
According to Expresso, the women had denied to TVI ever having signed any documents relating to the adoption of the children, but they were found to have done so.
The document from the prosecutors also states that an allegation made by a father in the report, that he "did not know that his daughter had been handed over" to an IURD bishop, had also been contradicted by other evidence.
The document also stresses that, until the TVI report came out, the biological parents had never complained about the alleged illegal withdrawal of their children.
According to prosecutors, over the years "there was no report of any biological mother or father having been to any public entity to file a complaint because of the disappearance of any child or the impossibility of having access to any child" in any of the institutions.
TVI had reported in December 2017 on the alleged existence of a network of illegal adoptions of children on the part of IURD officials in the 1990s. Children were alleged to have been illegally taken from a home in Lisbon for an adoption scheme set up to benefit families linked to the church in Brazil and the US.
The IURD has rejected suspicions of the abduction and illegal adoption of Portuguese children, dismissing the allegations as part of "a defamatory and lying campaign".

LFS/ARO // ARO.
Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2019-05-21 09:46:37







 

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