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Former deputy prime minister Paulo Portas gets top job with Mexican state oil company

Famed for what international observers once called his “teflon qualities”, former deputy prime minister Paulo Portas is on a roll. Two months after landing his €5000-a-month consulting job with engineering giant Mota-Engil (click here), he has been offered another plum position with Mexican State oil company Pemex – to work out of Spain.

The news came from Spanish daily El Diário and has been picked up in Portugal just as Público runs a damning interview with a communist MP who has written an equally damning book on one of Portas’ best-known run-ins with scandal: the so-called ‘submarine controversy’.

As José Magalhães tells Público, in his opinion Portas was central to the poor management of the process that was finally and irrevocably archived last November, with no one in Portugal receiving any kind of censure – despite German counterparts receiving jail terms.

“What happened was a bit like candidating in a race to furnish the State with a Volkswagen, then substituting it for a BMW, then downgrading the composition of the BMW until it became a kind of Volkswagen,” Magalhães told Público.

“The question is why we were all stupid enough to swallow it for a decade. This can only be explained by the ins and outs of the secret State.”

And as all legal ‘deadlines’ are now tucked neatly away in the past, Paulo Portas is fancy free to enjoy what critics call the revolving door between politics and big business – an aspect that while legally-admissible leaves many with an unpleasant feeling about the way the world works.

Diário de Notícias remarks that Portas visited Mexico twice while on business development missions for Portugal, and that the subsidiary for which he will be working is Mex Gas Enterprises, “dedicated to the commercialisation of natural gas”.

Mex Gas Enterprises was created in 2014 to bring together offshoots that up until then had been in the tax haven of the Caymen Islands, explains DN – while El Diário adds that in June 2014, during the visit to Portugal by Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, Pemex signed a memorandum of understanding with GALP (Portugal’s energy coporation), relating to the “exchange of information and/or development of projects”.

The content of this document will only be available to the public in 2026, says DN – not explaining why.

iOnline has also picked the story up, under the headline “Company that hired Portas has confidential agreement with GALP”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com