A triumph for the ‘little people’ has seen Caixa de Crédito Agrícola Bank finally called to task over losses to clients in one of the largest bank raids in Portugal’s history.
The unsolved raid – the investigation of which was archived two years ago – netted a total of €4.5 million.
It went ahead in the early hours of November 18, 2012, in Penafiel, despite the fact that alarms were triggered three times.
This was the basis of the legal case lodged by three determined clients who lost the contents of their safety deposit boxes.
Jornal Verdadeiro Olhar explains that even though the security company monitoring the bank’s alarms alerted personnel, the employee who emerged from his bed to check on the premises simply did so from the outside.
Accompanied by a GNR agent, the employee did not even take a key to the bank with him.
Seeing everything seemingly calm “from the outside”, the man returned home “with tranquility”, said the paper – while inside intruders moved on from raiding the vault to storming 46 safe deposit boxes.
Verdadeiro Olhar explains the raiders had time to “make various holes in the bank’s walls and floor” eventually making off undetected with cash, gold and bundles of jewellery.
PJ police later located the van used in the break-in, but as it had been doused in bleach, forensic testing yielded very little.
The police theory, finally, was that this had been the work of a Spanish gang – and as the CCTV system had been destroyed and there were no witnesses, that was that.
Many clients lost ‘treasures’ and valuables – but three particularly decided to fight over what they stressed was a situation in which the bank had failed in its duty to guarantee the inviolability of their safety deposit boxes.
The long-fought court battle was settled only last month – almost four years since the break-in – and has seen the bank ordered to pay one of the clients €200,000 plus interest, and two others €14,000 each.
Whether other cases are in the pipeline to secure the losses of other clients has not been explained in the report posted online yesterday on Verdadeiro Olhar’s website.