News channels last night buzzed with the news that yet another VIP “prisoner” has been released. But what no one appears to have appreciated is that former BES boss Ricardo Salgado will not be allowed to enjoy his freedom from house arrest in Cascais until he has lodged €3 million as a bail surety.
That is in addition to the €3 million bail surety he was asked to post as a defendant in the long-running financial corruption investigation, Monte Branco.
In what is almost certainly a cunning move by the Public Ministry, it now remains to be seen where Salgado gets the money from.
As Diário de Notícias reports this morning: “It does not follow that the former leader of Banco Espírito Santo will benefit from this decision by the court, as a large part of his assets – namely properties – have been seized by the Public Ministry to guarantee the payment of eventual damages in the scope of the BES inquiry”.
Thus, as DN’s picture caption stresses this morning, “the court is waiting for payment of the bail surety to let Salgado leave his home”.
Salgado, the banker who was known both affectionately and otherwise as “o Dono Disto Tudo” (the boss of all this) was finally made an official defendant in the tortuous case that involves five autonomous inquiries and 73 that are interconnected on July 20.
As a statement from the Attorney General’s office has confirmed: “Since that date, six people have been made official defendants (“arguidos”) in this investigation in which there is the suspicion of the practice of crimes of falsification, IT falsification, qualified fraud, abuse of confidence, fiscal fraud, corruption in the private sector and money laundering.”
The full effects of the BES collapse are still to be quantified, but for now it is a given that the private bank imploded with debts of around €6 billion – which are still reverberating on Portugal’s fragile economy.