Patrick Drahi has been talking to investors this week in what international reports describe as a
Patrick Drahi has been talking to investors this week in what international reports describe as a "bid to calm jitters"

Around 100 companies suspected of taking part in Altice Portugal’s alleged corruption

Companies in different jurisdictions, but “mostly operating in Portugal”

Around a 100 companies have been identified by Portuguese authorities investigating the alleged corrupt scheme involving telecoms giant Altice.

Dubbed ‘Operation Picoas’, the investigation “centres on suspicions of rigging hiring processes, paying undue advantages, selling company assets at a loss and embezzling money”.

A report on information gleaned so far was handed by police to president of the Altice group Patrick Drahi who made the contents public at a presentation yesterday of the firm’s results.

As media reports have already explained, the scheme was allegedly run through a complex network of companies, many linked to Hernâni Antunes, a close associate of Mr Drahi’s former business partner and former president himself of Altice Portugal, Armando Pereira.

Both men are currently under house arrest, and suspected of a variety of white collar crimes.

According to Mr Drahi, when the investigation became ‘public’, and police information was passed to him, Altice, at the time, “had relations” with only 10 of the 100 mentioned companies.

“On the advice of our lawyers, we immediately suspended payments to these companies”, he said – and some of them have already been replaced by new suppliers.

In addition to these companies, the report also mentioned several individuals, some known to the telecoms group “but most unknown”, reports Público. 

“Altice has suspended 15 workers in Portugal, France and the United States and launched investigations in several countries”. 

Mr Drahi has only this week started ‘opening up’ about the scandal, which he said has left him feeling shocked and, if allegations prove to be true, betrayed.

The company’s stance is that it wants to “send a message of reassurance to investors that the impact of the alleged corruption schemes will be reduced, both reputationally and financially”.

Directors admit nonetheless that “some operations have been affected by the ongoing investigations, including the delay in the sale of data centres in Portugal and France”.

Altice continues with plans to reduce its substantial debt of almost €55 billion, concludes Público, but the corruption scandal is hampering the process, having delayed some sales and casting “a cloud of uncertainty over the company’s future”. ND