Former president of the republic Cavaco Silva is in the hot-seat today after an exposé in Público claims he paid half the rates he should have on his Algarve summer home, “for the last 15 years”.
Público sought the advice of “five specialists” – neglecting to tell them to whom the data they were being sent referred.
In fact, Público left out “any detail that could have led them to realise the concrete facts”.
The paper thus feels that the answers it received came without prejudice.
The results, it says, were that the experts all agreed on one point: there is evidence that the wrong information was given in relation to Cavaco Silva’s home in Aldeia da Coelha, Albufeira.
One lawyer suggested this was either “error or fraud”.
Another said that the AT tax authority could, in theory, try and recoup “the part of the rates was not covered, due to the error”.
Cavaco Silva, meantime, has failed to reply to Público’s written questions.
At issue is the fact that in 2009 when serving as president, Cavaco appears to have registered his home as having a rateable value of €199,469.
The figure was based on a house that never existed, explains Público.
Cavaco Silva bought the plot complete with project in 1997 but ended up building a house almost double the size. His rateable value, however, was down to the ‘original project’, approved by the council in 1994.
The status quo continued until last year, says Público, when the property was ‘reassessed’ “clarifying the essential, without leaving margin for doubts: the property on which Cavaco was taxed for 15 years has nothing to do with the one he owns”.
It now has a rateable value of €392,220, and the news is being picked up by radio, television and social media.