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Costa against Costa: Bank of Portugal governor’s hot seat gets even hotter

Tortuous post-mortem inquiries into the catastrophic Banif ‘resolution’, have seen left wingers round on central bank governor Carlos Costa, with the official government line being that he is guilty of a “serious lack of information”.

Fresh from a six-hour ‘explanation’ given to the parliamentary inquiry into the bank’s collapse, Costa has always maintained that he bears no responsibility for the collapse of the fourth financial institution under his regulatory eye in the space of less than six years.

But the paper-trail has caught him out, as Público has explained in detail.

At the same time that Costa was asking the government to “find a way of guaranteeing money for the bank”, he was advising the European Central Bank to limit its access to finance.

With left-wingers determined to expose what they consider to be Costa’s incompetence, headlines today scream: “Costa against Costa” while national radio has put it more bluntly. “The government led by prime minister António Costa wants Carlos Costa’s resignation”, and it seems to be unlikely to rest until it gets it.

MPs João Galamba (PS) and Mariana Mortágua (BE), say Costa’s return to parliament explain the shenanigans leading up to the Madeiran bank’s fall is now “inevitable”.

They told Público the best moment will be the end of the inquiry, when he can be “confronted” with all the conflicting details, and pressured to “explain what really went on”.

Banif was sold to Santander Totta for a knockdown price of €150 million after a disastrous TV report suggesting the troubled bank was insolvent sent clients running to tills to remove their money.

Toxic assets and the general ‘tidying up’ required by the State has seen the collapse cost taxpayers dearly. Brussels warned last December that the final bill could reach €3 billion.

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