Bes Protest
image: Lusa

BES trial ‘bombshell’: Judge drops issue of compensation

Bank’s “damaged” investors forced into civil proceedings

In another ‘breaking news story’ this morning, SIC Notícias reports that the judge hearing the BES case – due to come to trial almost 10 years since the bank ‘collapsed’ – has ‘removed’ over 2,000 ‘damaged’ investors and banking clients from the trial proceedings and dropped the issue of awarding compensation.

This means, that after so many years ‘waiting for justice’, the BES damaged – as these people have been dubbed – will be forced to proceed to civil proceedings – with all the assets seized from the defendants remaining in the criminal case.

This is a detail that has never before been ‘countenanced’: indeed, in the past, asset seizures were done on the basis that if there were convictions, there would be enough money/ property to fully compensate the bank’s victims.

Today, SIC’s Diogo Torres reports that judge Helena Susano has “decided to dismiss the 2,475 injured parties recognised in the case, which in practice prevents them from receiving any compensation in the criminal case, and forces them to make compensation claims from scratch, in separate cases”.

SIC explains, the judge’s reasoning is that “given the number of injured parties, who represent 1,306 compensation claims, she would be facing alongside this criminal ‘mega-case’, a civil ‘mega-case’ which delays the decision intolerably in the light of a judgement in an adequate and useful time”.

The judge stressed nonetheless: “Don’t think that the court is being insensitive by taking this decision” – which may not convince the 2,475 people whose hopes this morning of recovering their money while they are still in a position to enjoy it have taken an almighty battering.

It wasn’t that long ago that the ‘damaged’ said they were holding out for the “largest compensation award in Portugal’s history”.

The trial date for this hugely convoluted case has been set for May 28.

[email protected]