Black Friday for bank regulators as judges lift ‘banking secrecy’ at crippled Caixa

Bank regulators got the kind of Friday send-off for the weekend that will ensure they don’t get any fun at all: appeal court judges have ruled that embattled State bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos must indeed reveal the list of its ‘major-league creditors’.

It’s a ruling that promises to blow the lid off years of mismanagement and old-boy-network favours – and one that had been strongly resisted up till now by the beleaguered Bank of Portugal, the securities commission CMVM and CGD itself.

The whole situation involving CGD, and the commission set up to investigate the catastrophic years since 2000 was thrown into new confusion today when centre-right parties put in a bid for a second commission, maintaining that the first one – which started with one group of top-flight bankers who then all resigned – is not doing its job.

Accusations are flying round the corridors of São Bento, but the bottom line is ‘whether or not Finance Minister Mário Centeno lied about terms of employment to the team that then resigned in high dudgeon’ and ‘is the government simply pursuing a political agenda when it should be seriously trying to get to the bottom of the kind of scandal that should never have been allowed to happen?’

The row is further complicated by last week’s news that €10 billion disappeared from Portugal into offshore havens during the ‘bailout years’ of 2011 to 2014 (and although banks are understood to have communicated the transfers, no State department set about investigating them ) and a Constitutional Court ruling that means the assets of former bank president António Domingues can now be made public – a situation Domingues has been fighting tooth and nail to avoid.

All in all, Carnival weekend is kicking off to a good start.

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