An inquiry has been launched in Portugal after it emerged that private telephone calls involving President Jorge Sampaio and other senior officials were taped illegally. The news emerged in a tabloid newspaper which revealed tens of thousands of conversations were taped between December 2001 and May 2002. The activity was allegedly ordered by the state prosecution service in connection with the Casa Pia child abuse scandal which has rocked the country.It has refused to acknowledge it ordered the tapes. Portugal’s chief prosecutor Jose Souto Mora has pledged a full investigation into the affair. The Casa Pia scandal erupted in 2002. The trial now underway centres on alleged sexual abuse on children at Casa Pia schools and orphanages in Lisbon. Casa Pia is one of Portugal’s oldest and most respected institutions. Hundreds of witnesses and more than 32 alleged victims are testifying in the case. The accused include a TV star, a former diplomat and an ex-director of the Casa Pia childrens’ homes. They face charges including the rape of minors and procurement of children.