New calls for dismissal of Governor of Bank of Portugal – this time over alleged complicity in “insider dealing on epic scale”

Governor of the Bank of Portugal Carlos Costa has yet another drama to deal with this week as the Luanda Leaks dossier compiled by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has blown the lid off what it calls “a tale of insider dealing on an epic scale” in which his institution appears to have been complicit.

The exposé focuses on the business dealings of former first daughter of Angola Isabel dos Santos – the same woman who only a month ago was suing former MEP Ana Gomes for ‘offending her good name’ over Twitter.

The lawsuit bombed (click here), as has Ms dos Santos ‘good name’ since.

With the breaking of Luanda Leaks, accounting firm PwC (formerly PriceWaterhouseCoppers) announced that it is severing all service contracts it has with companies controlled by Ms dos Santos.

PwC is cited in the exposé, along with other major firms, for having “helped sustain dos Santos’ empire for years, long after many Western banks had cut her off amid concerns about the source of her wealth.

“Accountants disregarded red flags that experts say should have triggered alarms.

“Attorney’s from prominent Portuguese law firms helped set up shell companies and moved money for dos Santos and her husband. And consultants advised ways to run their businesses and avoid taxes”.

Now, Ana Gomes – who has been alluding to these activities for years – is calling for the sacking of Carlos Costa along with all the others named in the damning Luanda Leaks dossier.

“What are they waiting for?” She tweeted over the weekend.

To reporters here, Gomes has gone for the jugular.

Carlos Costa, the former Attorney General, bank regulators CMVM, the tax department, judicial and political power in Portugal – they all looked the other way and in so doing were complicit in what Gomes describes as the Angolan kleptocracy (Wikipedia describes kleptocracy as a government with corrupt leaders that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political powers. Typically, this system involves embezzlement of funds at the expense of the wider population).

Says Gomes, the image of Portugal is “in the mud”.

“This is so bad for our reputation. Today, we have Portuguese individually, institutions, Portuguese companies exposed for the world to see. The country exists like a laundery” for corrupt money, she railed, suggesting the blame cannot excused as ‘turning a blind eye’. It’s complicity, she told SIC television news: “complicity by action and omission, in a scheme that diverted resources desperately needed” by the Angolan people who “live in poverty for a few turnips”.

Into the swirl came an update from Davos: Isabel dos Santos has been dropped from the list of participants at the World Economic Forum, opening tomorrow (Tuesday).

Said Gomes in another interview, this time with Rádio Renascença, Luanda Leaks will undoubtedly bring consequences for Portugal, because it is clear that “neocolonial robbery” has “contaminated, contaged and helped spread economic and financial criminality and corruption in Portugal”.

For now, none of the institutions or people named by Ms Gomes have responded – but the storm is self-perpetuating, with media sources everywhere picking up on it and ‘following the dizzying money trail’.

Further reading, in English, can be found here: https://www.icij.org/investigations/luanda-leaks/

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com