CGD’s crippling debt-load “could be as much as €8 billion”

With a parliamentary commission being set up to identify “what went wrong”, the bottom line is that State bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos is in one heck of a financial pickle. In the decade between 2002-2012, the State injected billions, and still another €4 billion is needed. As Público explains, the bank looks set to have cost the country €8 billion so far – and no-one appears to know why.

That’s the official story at least – and the reason for the probe that will bring together various ‘experts’ to evaluate what Público calls “the performance of two governors of the Bank of Portugal” (Carlos Costa and his predecessor António Sousa, and two deputy governors, José Matos and José Ramalho).

Taken in the national context of a distinctly bloodied bank-battlefield, the situation is not far short of a national emergency. But no-one is saying that yet.

For now, we have opinion articles in mainstream media like Observador in which respected journalists explain that “what the various bills that we have to pay to clean-up Caixa show is that it is extremely important that banks remain in political hands. Particularly when politicians have no scruples”.

Writer José Manuel Fernandes added that after his story – in which several politicians were named – was published, former prime minister José Sócrates “came to complain, once more for the umpteenth time, that he is the victim of character assassination. Does he really think that anyone is listening to him”.

Ears now will be on what comes out of the parliamentary commission, set up on the insistence of the PSD centre-right party led by former PM Pedro Passos Coelho.

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