Not a good moment for Álvaro Sobrinho

Álvaro Sobrinho accused today of embezzling hundreds of millions of euros

Former president of BES Angola formally accused in 800-page dispatch

The former president of BES Angola, Álvaro Sobrinho, has been formally accused by Portugal’s Public Ministry of embezzling hundreds of millions of euros from the bank to accounts that he controlled, namely in Switzerland.

This is the gist of breaking news today which suggests former BES president Ricardo Salgado could also face new charges, albeit separate from the case facing Sobrinho.

That 60-year-old Sobrinho is finally facing an accusation is quite something: it has taken years to reach this point, even though newspaper stories have discussed the embezzlement ad infinitum in the past.

In the intervening time, Álvaro Sobrinho has run into all kinds of other ‘situations’ and controversies.

Now, according to reports, it truly does look like the party may be over: Mr Sobrinho is cited for the crimes of aggravated fraud, abuse of confidence and money laundering in an alleged scheme that appears to have involved the lodging around €6 billion in the guise of ‘irregular loans’ to ‘faithful trustees’, between 2009 and 2013.

Slapped with a €6 million bail surety back in March, today’s accusation has come, says CNN Portugal, in a dispatch involving more than 800 pages.

No reports today have indicated where Álvaro Sobrinho is. When he was put on bail back in March, he was made to surrender his passport, and prohibited from leaving Portugal before he paid up.

Former MEP, TV commentator and relentless voice against corruption Ana Gomes tweeted at the time: “Only his Portuguese passport? And the other ones, the other nationalities that one buys here and there in countries that sell ‘golden visas’. Ah, those are for when he gets to Dubai or Belize…”

It is unconfirmed whether Mr Sobrinho ever did meet his bail.

In April this year, he was reported to have tried offer properties that had been ‘seized by the courts’ to meet the sum, but these were not deemed acceptable.

So, it is a case of watch and wait – which to a huge extent it always has been since so much money ‘disappeared’ without trace on Mr Sobrinho’s watch as president of BES Angola.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com