BPP bankers already facing jail receive new ‘effective’ jail terms

Three former BPP bankers, including ex-president João Rendeiro, have received new ‘effective’ jail terms for defrauding a former Portuguese ambassador (see update below).

The trio have up till now eluded jail as a result of the collapse over a decade ago of BPP bank. 

Mr Rendeiro and former director Paulo Guichard have used every avenue of appeal open to them (click here), while fellow defendant Salvador Fezas Vital has managed to pay his way out of a three-and-a-half year sentence (cost: €15,000).

It is unclear if the latest sentence (for three-and-a-half years) will be open for this kind of trade-in.

All three men have also been ordered to pay former ambassador Júlio Mascarenhas €235,000 by way of compensation.

This means that 14 years after having been effectively conned into put €250,000 in “a product of risk” when he believed it to be a safe investment with guarantees, he may have the chance of recovering some of it.

The problem is that all the plaintiffs from this banking collapse that preceded so many others have repeatedly said that they don’t have the money to pay their fines (click here).

Another issue is that neither João Rendeiro nor Paulo Guichard were in court, or even in Portugal, to hear the judge’s decision.

The former is understood to be in London ‘until the end of the month’, the latter in Brazil (a country with no extradition agreement with Portugal).

Both are being informed of the court’s decision.

Explain reports, the panel of judges which found the men guilty of qualified fraud said it was “convinced” they all knew the delicate situation the bank was in when Júlio Mascarenhas was persuaded to part with his money.

Only a few months later, BPP requested a €750 million guarantee from the State to prevent it collapsing, which it did, finally, in 2010.

UPDATE:

After all the essentially coy reporting over past weeks in which media outlets referred to Mr Rendeiro’s trip to UK, it now seems much more likely that he has ‘done a runner’.

Correio da Manhã today is suggesting Mr Rendeiro is already in Brazil.

SIC television news today is reporting that the former banking boss has described his absence as a “legitimate act of self defence against an unjust justice system”.

The most likely scenario now is that international arrest warrants will be issued, leaving Mr Rendeiro limited in his options for free movement.

SIC suggests his flight from justice was ‘always on the cards’.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com