Montepio and two other banks new targets of forensic audit
Bank of Portugal || As the collapse of BES continues to create headlines, news comes that Montepio Geral is in the eyes of the Bank of Portugal – along with two other banking institutions.
According to an investigation led by RTP news, regulators are looking very closely at transactions made with the Espírito Santo Group of companies between December 2013 and June 2014.
Claiming it has seen “documents which point to exposure of Montepio to Grupo Espírito Santo to the tune of €150 million”, the television report said that even with all the Bank of Portugal’s attention focused on the empire run by Ricardo Espírito Santo Salgado earlier this year, Montepio invested €120 million in Grupo Espírito Santo’s hotel chain and €30 million in its now bankrupt subsidiary Rioforte.
While Montepio has pooh-poohed any significance to the audit – saying it is a regular occurrence in the banking sector and has nothing to do with exposure to BES or indeed the GES pool of businesses – , RTP contends that forensic audits are much more common when regulators are looking for “eventual irregularities”.
“After BES and Montepio,” it concluded “what’s left to find out is which are the other two forensic audits” ongoing.
Also reporting on Montepio’s transactions, Público writes that the institution had “around €2 billion in unsecured loans”, as well as a cruiseship business with a debt of €70 million which “could be under scrutiny”.
Commercial dealings connected to Ongoing, the company run by Rafael Mora and Nuno Vasconcellos – “two managers that developed investments articulated with BES/GES” – are also being checked as the bank’s “exposure” in this case amounted to €60 million, adds Público.