Carlos Moedas received Ricardo Salgado in May 2014 to hear concerns about the financial situation of Grupo Espírito Santo (GES) because it was “my job to listen to private companies”, but the former deputy secretary of state for Passos Coelho refuses the idea of that he should have done something, since it was not his role in the Government. Regarding the possible favor that the then president of BES sought from Carlos Moedas, the former governor highlighted more than once that the government of which he was part “was the first to say no to Ricardo Salgado”.
Heard this Tuesday at the Novo Banco inquiry committee, at the initiative of the PS, the former European commissioner was confronted with the call that the then president of BES made to him in early June 2014, asking to intervene with the Minister of Finance. Luxembourg court, a country whose judicial authorities were investigating GES companies, and the president of Caixa Geral de Depósitos. The three-minute phone call was invoked by PS deputy João Paulo Correia to ask insistently, more than five times, Moedas said yes to Ricardo Salgado’s request for contact, invoking a recording of that conversation that is public.
Carlos Moedas admits that he did not directly say no, “as no one says to a bank president. The facts are clear. I said, sympathetically to a bank president, I hear you, Dr. Ricardo Salgado. I didn’t even say yes or no ”. The former governor admits that he “was paralyzed” and thinking about what was going on, in the face of the requests of the then president of BES. But “I went home and did nothing as is proven. The facts speak for themselves. For the first time, a government said no to Salgado and I was part of that government ”.
And he took advantage of the cue “on this important day for Portugal” – 10 years of the ransom request made by the Government of José Sócrates – to remember the “little favors” that were made in the past years by politicians and that must be held responsible, as well as the main responsible by the collapse of Banco Espírito Santo. “It is unacceptable that the culprits do not pay for what they have done.”
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In the clarifications to the PS, the PSD candidate for the Lisbon Chamber recalled the answers were given in 2015, he even cited the written statements he made to the parliamentary commission of inquiry to BES, in which he denied having made any contact with the Minister of Justice of the Luxembourg, as he himself confirmed. Coins also denied being “friendly” to the minister, with whom he spoke only twice. And he accused the Socialist deputy of being in politics with his hearing.
The former governor and current candidate for the Lisbon Chamber was heard in the parliamentary committee of inquiry into the losses of Novo Banco attributed to the Resolution Fund, an initiative of the PS whose opportunity is strongly contested by the PSD and CDS, which were Government in 2014. But not only.
For Cecília Meireles from CDS, it is difficult to ask questions when there are no new facts. For the deputy, Carlos Moedas was called to this commission of inquiry because he “did not rest at home”, but decided to run for the city council in the capital. André Silva from PAN considers that the PS is playing with election campaigns, arguing that there were more important auditions like Rui Pinto’s. The Moedas call is “an ad hominem hearing and requested on the knee to serve Medina’s interests.”
The deputy of the Liberal Initiative, Cotrim de Figueiredo, admitted that this would be the shortest hearing in parliamentary history, which came to be confirmed, lasted two and a half hours. In the end, the chairman of the commission of inquiry, Fernando Negrão, points out an “atypical hearing, but very interesting from a political point of view”.
Social Democrat Duarte Pacheco went further in the attack on the PS and in an intervention in which he does not ask a question, Moedas accuses the PS of instrumentalizing the commission of inquiry into the Novo Banco with political objectives in the autarchic struggle between the PSD and Fernando Medina. PSD deputies, Mónica Quintela and Filipe Roseta also use question time to defend Carlos Moedas and the Government’s response at the time to the bank’s downfall.
Duarte Pacheco recalls that the Socialists did not have Coins on the initial list of hearing requests. João Paulo Correia justifies hearing, recalling the political and executive responsibilities of the deputy prime minister, and stresses that he made several requests for questions in writing to senior officials who had direct knowledge of the problems in the BES / GES case before the bank’s public collapse.
Six years later, Cavaco will be faced with questions about what he knew before BES fell. But you don’t have to answer
PS and PCP were the parties that most insisted on questions about the facts that occurred or imputed to the former Secretary of State. The Left Bloc deputy, Mariana Mortágua, asked few questions, admitting that Carlos Moedas’ intervention could help to understand how the Government at that time managed the case of BES whose resolution, as it was public, was not the subject of the Council of Ministers.
At the end of the hearing, Carlos Moedas also regretted the “terrible phrase” that he was subjected to in 2015, attributed to a recording made at a meeting of the Espírito Santo Group (GES) that it was necessary to “get Moedas working”, in an allusion to any political favors that the group could turn to. But despite the repetition in the answers given, he guaranteed that he will always be available to go to Parliament.
Carlos Moedas also considered the request made by telephone in June 2014 of Salgado to intervene with the president of Caixa Geral de Depósitos to be strange. “Does a bank president call me to meet with the president of another bank? It was so strange ”. Coins also said that he spoke with the then president of Caixa to express his strangeness and concern. But she refuses any intervention scenario in favor of BES / GES in the Government of which she was a member, already in response to the CDS deputy, Cecília Meireles.
It would never be permissible for the then Prime Minister (Passos Coelho) to make any kind of phone call to a bank to ask for a credit or to influence a loan decision. It was outside the DNA of governance. It never crossed my mind ”.
In spite of the initial intervention, Carlos Moedas points out that Ricardo Salgado conveyed concerns about GES, and not about Banco Espírito Santo, which was a private company, highlighted the communist deputy Duarte Alves. But that was not his responsibility.
“My responsibility in the Government was to close the adjustment program with the troika”. Currencies recalls that it was dealing with structural reforms in the various areas of the economy. “I was not in a position to be able to transmit or make a decision” about the GES / BES case. In addition, he recalls, Salgado, accompanied by José Honório as a consultant, informed him that he was making contacts with other members of the Government, including with the Prime Minister.
Currencies have no record of the information in the memorandum it received and, according to which, GES would have a liability of 7.6 billion euros. Even so, he stresses, this problem should not be that of taxpayers, but that of shareholders and creditors. “In addition to being in the middle of closing hundreds of measures of the troika – and Carlos Moedas takes the opportunity to remember 10 years of the rescue to Portugal to highlight the work done at the time by the Government of which he was a part – Ricardo Salgado“ knew that I had not power and I knew he was talking to other members of the Government ”. For this reason, he did not convey his concerns to the Prime Minister or to the Minister of Finance, who also met with Salgado.
“It was my job to listen to them, yes, it was not my job to do something in the government”. The former ruler uses the orchestra metaphor to describe the government in which the prime minister was the conductor.
Faced by the communist deputy with the conclusion that he did nothing in this case, Moedas refuses the idea. “My standard of living is to act. And he invokes the 10 years of the rescue to highlight the pride in the work done at that stage, but insists that the BES / GES case is not my role, as the former Finance Minister, Maria Luís Albuquerque, made clear.
Maria Luís refuses “romanticism” and “fantasies” at BES. It wasn’t because 600 million were missing that it went wrong
Carlos Moedas was also confronted with the written answers he gave in 2015 about his concern with BES / GES and the clean exit from the troika’s program. The decision was made on May 2, and announced days later, and on May 4, the then Secretary of State received Ricardo Salgado.
Currencies feared implications of GES problem in clean exit from troika program
The former governor has now devalued a possible link, remembering that what was at stake for his knowledge was a problem for the group and not the bank.
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