Ethics Committee warns that the Bank of Portugal’s image may be affected
Mário Centeno, Governor of the Bank of Portugal, has been cleared of any ethical wrongdoing after he was invited to replace António Costa as Prime Minister.
According to the Bank of Portugal’s Ethics Committee, Centeno fulfilled his general duties of conduct and acted with the required reserve after receiving the invitation.
However, the committee has also pointed out out that the bank’s image may be affected by the confusion surrounding the invitation.
“On an objective level, subsequent political and media developments could damage the Bank’s image“, considering that “the defence of the institution is even more important in a period such as the current one, which is why the Committee stresses the importance of the principles that shape the regulations in force”.
The Ethics Committee also recommended that “the governor, the board and the bank as a whole remain committed to safeguarding the image and reputation of Banco de Portugal“.
The confusion surrounding the invitation came after Mário Centeno told the Financial Times that he had received “an invitation from the president and the prime minister to reflect and consider the possibility of leading the government,” only for Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to deny having made the invitation shortly after.
Centeno then clarified in a statement on Monday that he was not invited by Marcelo to head the government, only by António Costa.
The Board of Directors of the Bank of Portugal said on Wednesday that the conditions for the independence of the banking regulator and its bodies for the exercise of their competencies have always been met, while the European Central Bank (ECB) said this week that it was awaiting the opinion of the Ethics Committee.
“The Ethics Committee of the European Central Bank will be informed of the outcome of the assessment by the Ethics Committee of the Bank of Portugal,” an official source from the Frankfurt-based institution told Lusa.
The Bank of Portugal’s Ethics Committee meets once a quarter and extraordinarily whenever it is convened at the initiative of any of its members or at the request of the Board of Directors or the Audit Board.