Armando Vieira, centre in dark glasses, at the opening of an Altice call centre in Guarda back in 2015

Altice co-founder held in preventive custody following yesterday’s searches

Armando Pereira to be presented before judge later today

Yesterday’s high-profile searches of the “senior figures” within Altice Portugal culminated with the arrest of the company’s co-founder Armando Pereira.

The 71-year-old with an intriguing back-story in business dealings was held in police cells in Lisbon overnight and will be presented before a judge later today.

As all reports this morning recall, various homes and premises connected to senior officials within the telecoms group were subjected to searches yesterday on suspicions of crimes of corruption, fiscal fraud and money-laundering. The home of Mr Pereira, in Vieira do Minho (Braga district) was one of those searched.

“Authorities were looking for documents and other items of proof to confirm suspicions relating to a fraudulent scheme which will have damaged Altice in various millions of euros”, writes SIC.

Yesterday, the figure bandied about was ‘around €15 million’. Today this has been multiplied several times. Says SIC “as far as SIC can gather illicit profits of over €250 million could be at stake”. 

“The investigation believes that with the help of third parties, Armando Pereira, co-founder of MEO’s owner and one of France’s richest men, simulated property deals and concealed profits from the sale of assets, including former PT properties.

“One of the deals now under investigation involves the sale of four buildings in the capital for €15 million, but authorities believe they are just the tip of the iceberg.

“The former headquarters of PT, now Altice, in the heart of Lisbon, where prosecutor Rosário Teixeira was (yesterday) and the house where the right-hand man of the company’s leader Hernâni Vaz Antunes lives, were also searched.

“On the ground, there were more than 100 PSP agents and almost 50 vehicles, according to the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP), which confirmed dozens of steps in various regions of the country”.

TVI appears to have more details concerning the sale of the four buildings in Lisbon: “The buyers of the buildings have links to a business circuit that was set up in Braga, the Madeira Free Trade Zone and Dubai, with a scheme to circulate capital and return it to the sellers, resulting in losses for Altice Internacional and the State”, says the television station.

An official source for Altice, owning company of MEO, has confirmed that the company is “providing all collaboration requested” and “will be always available for any clarifications”.

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