Government accused of trying to hide €150 million from deficit

It is the latest pre-election “revelation” that has been hotly refuted by Finance Minister Maria Luís Albuquerque. Parvalorem boss Paula Poças admitted on air this morning that her administration was asked to “fiddle with accounts and show the most optimistic scenario possible” for BPN’s massive debt load in 2012. Thus €157 million was deftly removed from that year’s deficit, she explained – which made the government’s housekeeping look better.

The revelation, made on Antena 1 breakfast radio, stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy, with Maria Luís Albuquerque issuing a statement denying any “manipulation or hiding of Parvalorem’s accounts for 2012”.

With figures and financial terms now being bandied about, the problem is that the issue is “out there” – and no amount of denial seems to be working.

Antena 1 economics commentator Nicolau Santos claims the story shows that every government, no matter what their leaders might say, is at the mercy of “temptation to show the best results”.

“This government came to power accusing the last executive of having manipulated the deficit; of there having been many situations that were not clear, and which should have counted in the deficit,” he said. But, in reality “in some situations” it has “executed the same financial engineering”, as its predecessor.

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