Former BES boss told he really must pay €3.7 million fine

Months away now from being formally charged over the catastrophic collapse of BES bank, former banking ‘boss-of-all-this’ Ricardo Salgado has learnt that he must indeed pay the €3.7 million fine imposed by the Bank of Portugal in 2016, and contested ever since.

Constitutional Court judges have refused the last complaint filed by Salgado after what was billed as his final chance of ‘appeal’ floundered earlier this year (click here).

The ruling dated almost two weeks ago (May 14) upholds the Bank of Portugal’s original censure, which also involves a 10-year ban on Mr Salgado exercising any role within a financial or credit institution.

The decision also applies to a similar complaint filed by former BES director Amílcar Pires who will now be faced with paying the fine of €350,000 which he too has been trying to avoid for the best part of four years.

Explain reports, the Constitutional Court panel said that the high fines were justified in cases like these on the basis of the extreme financial damage caused.

Tens of thousands of former BES clients were horribly compromised by the bank’s collapse in 2014, while taxpayers have been picking up the tab ever since.

Ricardo Salgado, it has to be said, has always protested his innocence (click here), vowed to restore his family’s good name (click here). He has even blamed the Bank of Portugal for the collapse of the family ‘firm’ (click here).

The full story is certain to come out in the trial, which should follow shortly after the conclusion of the Public Ministry investigation which has been ‘ongoing’ since 2014.

Said Expresso last weekend, formal charges for fraud, criminal association and corruption should be presented by July 16. In other words, they should precede the traditional ‘judicial holidays’ that come in August.

The problem is that time, as in all these long-drawn-out cases, is pivotal.

Mr Salgado himself is 75. Other ‘defendants’ whose testimonies need to be reheard are described by Expresso as “already old” and court business – traditionally conducted at the pace of a terminally-ill snail – is further hampered by the Covid pandemic.

As Expresso explains, one of the defendants has “already died”. The inference is that more could follow before the full tragedy of BES and the many hundreds of millions ‘lost’ is laid out for all to fully appreciate.

UPDATE: Tabloid reports have followed up on this story saying the likelihood of Mr Salgado actually paying is zero, unless the courts can trace any property that hasn’t yet been impounded pending other ongoing investigations involving allegations of corruption.

The former banking boss has already offered up to bail sureties of €1.5 million each, and has consistently said he has no further assets.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com