João Gomes Cravinho "has lost political authority and credibility" says opposition

Minister for Foreign Affairs “apparently has difficult relationship with truth”

Commentary as João Gomes Cravinho linked with further ‘scandal’

João Gomes Cravinho, current minister for foreign affairs, former minister of defence, has not simply been called out by Expresso for ‘memory lapse/ not telling it exactly how it was’, he is now in the news for being the majority shareholder in a firm “involved in business that damaged the resolution fund of Novo Banco to the tune of €260 million”.

Around the same time that popular television pundit Luís Marques Mendes was commenting that Mr Gomes Cravinho has “a difficult relationship with the truth” (regarding financial slippage, to the tune of four times original estimate, in works at the old Belém military hospital), other media sources were revealing that he is the majority shareholder in a company responsible for the “biggest real estate deal made in Portugal in recent years, which damaged Novo Banco’s Resolution Fund to the tune of €260 million”.

The story broken by CNN/TVI acknowledged that the ‘damages’ knocked up to Novo Banco occurred before João Gomes Cravinho became a majority shareholder. But it doesn’t detract from the fact that the minister is ‘in business’ with others whose pasts have ended up in lawsuits; one even has a condemnation for fiscal fraud.

João Gomes Cravinho however has said – much as he said about the financial slippage at Belém military hospital – that he had “no knowledge” of these issues.

He stressed that the company in question, Eurolocarno, has “never had any problems with justice, having its judicial and tax situation regularised, while he himself has “always declared” his participation in the company in various declarations made to the Constitutional Court.

Indeed, he interprets as his €1,000 shareholding as a minority stake (20%) in the company, not a majority one.

Vice-president of the PSD (opposition) Paulo Rangel believes Gomes Cravinho has already lost all credibility due to the €1.8 million ‘slippage’ that he claimed to know nothing about.

Expresso’s revelations “call into question the information that the former defence minister João Gomes Cravinho made in parliament, contaminating his authority and political credibility”, says Rangel, who then proceeded to tear another strip off the government, mired as it is in its own “progressive decomposition”.

Satirical show “Isto é gozar com quem trabalha” (literal translation: This is making fun of people you work with) ran a skit last night showing up the faintly ludicrous admission by former infrastructures minister Pedro Nuno Santos that he finally realised that he DID know about the illegal golden handshake that set the government on this latest path of implosion just before Christmas. Delving into paperwork after the parliamentary ‘grilling’ of TAP’s CEO, he saw that he had in fact authorised it via Whatsapp.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã remarks “with two virtual keys, he wrote ‘OK’ “and in an instant changed the political direction of the Nation. What kind of political and institutional mentality lies behind this informal practice?”

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com