João Rendeiro's online blog cover

Convicted BPP banker affirms he is “not coming back”

After years eluding Portuguese justice by lodging appeals, former president of BPP bank João Rendeiro has now sought to do it the ‘old fashioned way’ by simply disappearing. 

In his blog ‘Arma Critica’ he has affirmed that he will not be returning to Portugal as ordered by Tânia Loureiro Gomes, the judge who condemned him to 10 years in jail for money laundering and fiscal fraud. 

Published yesterday, he says he will resort to international courts to fight for his freedom “as there is a Law above what is considered in Portugal to be Law”.

The decision has been prompted by the latest jail sentence, handed out this week (click here) – yet another condemnation, including a fine, that may turn to dust.

In Mr Rendeiro’s mindset, his refusal to accept Portuguese justice has been “a difficult option… taken after profound reflection”.

He writes: “I feel wronged by the justice of my country. I will try to get international bodies to assess the way in which everything happened in Portugal. Convicted in the first instance in a case relating to facts in 2006, for a crime of falsifying documents and two of computer fraud, I received a suspended sentence. I then saw a court revert that decision, unexpectedly, to a jail term for five years and eight months. It was a manifestly disproportionate penalty in which I was convicted according to general criminal prevention criteria brought in over banking scandals that had not taken place at the time of the facts, and should not have been applied retroactively against me. I became a scapegoat for the desire to punish those who had not been punished…”

According to Correio da Manhã, the likelihood is that Mr Rendeiro is already in Brazil, “where he has business interests and friends” – at least two of them also eluding Portuguese justice – and with which Portugal does not have any useful form of extradition agreement.

ECO online writes: “The Superior Council of Magistrature (CSM) – the entity that disciplines and regulates judicial magistrates – remains in silence since” since all these developments.

This is largely because back in August transparency champions João Paulo Batalha and Paulo Morais attempted to find out why it was taking so long to enforce Mr Rendeiro’s convictions.

As the duo explained in their official request for information “the non-detention of João Rendeiro prompts justifiable social alarm” when compared to the speed with which jail sentences are applied to those without “the media visibility and social capital of João Rendeiro”.

For the average Portuguese citizen reading all this, the story is just another example of social iniquity in a country where almost everything depends on how many strings you can pull.

During a press conference called to discuss the results of Sunday’s municipal elections, PCP secretary general Jerónimo de Sousa said “What the kind of treatment is this? So much tolerance in the treatment of bankers, and so much pressure on those who have nothing!”