New legal moves to block sale of Novo Banco

As the Bank of Portugal tries to “conclude the sale of Novo Banco in the next three weeks”, a new “providência cautelar” has appeared, in yet another attempt to try and block it.

According to Económico website, the court that needs to uphold or refuse the embargo “will make a decision in the next few days”.

The site explains the legal bid has been lodged by investment company Liminorke, which ploughed €2.3 million into failed Espírito Santo company Rioforte “at a time when BES knew Group Espírito Santo was bankrupt”.

The argument, explained by Liminorke’s president Jaime Antunes – whose business interests extend to ownership of Jornal i – centres on the fact that BES “conned” its client and “therefore, Novo Banco has responsibilities” bearing in mind Novo Banco is the only asset left with the wherewithal to compensate clients for their losses.

This is the second “providência cautelar” presented over the sale, and both involve claims over “commercial paper” losses.

Today (Friday) in Porto, Portuguese emigrants plan yet another protest over the millions lost by small investors duped into purchasing commercial paper in a number of BES/GES subsidiaries.

But the race is on. As Lisbon’s administrative court considers this latest embargo, the Bank of Portugal is going full steam ahead in final negotiations with Chinese insurance group Anbang – thought to be offering as much as €4 billion for the “good bank” that emerged from the BES collapse last summer.

Meantime, an attempt by the association of damaged small investors to get support from the European Central Bank has fallen flat, with the ECB effectively saying it has nothing to do with it.

“The process of resolution of BES was conducted by Portuguese authorities in accordance with legal requirements,” AIEPC (the association of indignant and misled commercial paper holders) has been told.

In his first “holiday walkabout” in the Algarve yesterday (see separate story), Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho admitted that the BES debacle was a “difficult situation” that will continue to have an impact on the Portuguese economy.

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