Finance minister’s husband in dock over “abusive texts”

As his finance minister wife is in the news for allegedly finding a new use for money paid into the health service by public sector workers, António Albuquerque has been served with court papers to answer five crimes ranging from defamation to injury and attempted coercion.

The lamentable state of affairs harks back to abusive texts Albuquerque is accused of having sent a journalist last year after the catastrophic collapse of BES and scrambled creation of Novo Banco.

“What happens if Novo Banco is sold for a loss?” Filipe Alves queried in print.

To many, the question seemed – and still seems – perfectly reasonable, but for his own reasons Albuquerque took offence.

The day the article came out he is understood to have sent Alves a text with words to the effect, “we always knew you had no backbone, now we realise you are a piece of excrement”.

A surprised Alves responded that he would be “taking the matter up with his superiors” – and that apparently inflamed Albuquerque further.

Media reports say he accused Alves and his boss of being cuckolds. For a Portuguese man, this is one of the worst insults in the book.

Albuquerque is then alleged to have told Alves to go somewhere extremely unpleasant – adding that if Alves tried to “involve” his wife (the finance minister) “in the noise” he “would pay for it in hospital”.

Deftly playing the ostrich card, Maria Luís Albuquerque has this far kept her head down – and she has her hands full trying to make the country’s huge public debt look manageable anyway.

But as the months have passed, her husband has refused to retract any of his comments, and now the case is ready to go to trial.

“I am very sad that things have reached this stage,” Alves told reporters. “For me justice would have been done if he had simply apologized.”

According to Expresso, a simple apology is impossible for Albuquerque as he has a “personal problem” with Alves that goes back to the days when both men worked as journalists on Diário Económico.

Alves, on the other hand, told the paper that as far as he was concerned – although the two men were “never friends” – they had “never had a problem” with each other.

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