Millionaire businessman shines spotlight on Portugal’s nepotism

Disgruntled millionaire businessman Manuel Champalimaud was given a lot of column space in national papers last week as he ostensibly highlighted yet another case of the nepotism that is said to rule-the-roost in modern-day Portugal.

As a result of Champalimaud’s highly publicised “denouncement”, Artur Trindade, the secretary of state for energy, “refused to make any commentary”, while his father – also called Artur – and a consultant of EDP since 2013, was equally silent.

Champalimaud’s point was that “EDP knows how to defend itself politically” considering “the father of the secretary of state is a recent director of EDP”.

But Champalimaud’s whistle-blowing came with a clear axe to grind.

A quick internet trawl reveals him to be the largest Portuguese shareholder in national energy grid supplier REN – where the government’s “extraordinary energy contribution” levy is costing the company €25 million a year.

Champalimaud’s point was that with Trindade senior at the helm, EDP must be better placed to defend itself against the extraordinary energy contribution levy.

Diário de Notícias explained Champalimaud’s mindset, omitting nonetheless to inform its readers that the man it described simply as a “businessman” comes from a hugely wealthy family where nepotism could be said to be the order of the day.

Champalimaud’s company Gestmin employs all three of his children as directors – one of whom appeared in court in Lagos in 2002 charged with attempted murder.

Duarte Palma Leal Champalimaud was absolved and the court in fact ordered the plaintiff, a man who claimed he had been purposely run over by Champalimaud, to pay Champalimaud damages to the tune of €400.

Meantime, over the weekend, Trindade junior finally responded to the millionaire’s claims, saying they were not only unfounded, but an attempt to sully Trindade’s “good name”.

Contrary to what is “insinuated”, he added that EDP had not benefited in any way from a reduction in the extraordinary energy contribution levy, and that Champalimaud’s “personal attack” was completely unjustified.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]