Luís Montenegro, PSD leader
Luís Montenegro, PSD leader - Photo: PSD

PM and ministers “implicated” in secretary of state’s TAP payoff scandal, says opposition

“This government is beyond amendment” – Luís Montenegro (PSD leader)

Luís Montenegro, the leader of Portugal’s main opposition PSD said today that the prime minister (António Costa), the minister of finance (Fernando Medina) and the minister for infrastructure and housing (Pedro Nuno Santos) are all “implicated” in the €500,000 “golden handshake” received by a secretary of state.

Alexandra Reis, who is now secretary of state for the treasury, had received the money when she stepped down as an executive at TAP, the national flag carrier, last February.

In a post on social network Twitter, the PSD leader says the prime minister and the two ministers “are all responsible and accomplices in another mess“, adding: “The three will say that the fault is the opposition and that the next resignation is just another case … This government is beyond amendment.”

The secretary of state received €500,000 in compensation for leaving early as executive director of the nationalised airline, at a time when her term still had two years to run. A few months later, she was appointed by the government to head Portugal’s air traffic regulator, NAV.

The case, which came to light on Saturday by Correio da Manhã newspaper, drew criticism from the entire opposition and prompted the two ministers to ask the TAP management for “information about the legal framework of the agreement” reached with Alexandra Reis, including the compensation paid.

In a written statement sent to Lusa, Reis said that she had never accepted, and that if she had been paid, she would “immediately” return any amount that she believed was not in “strict compliance with the law” when she left TAP.

She also explained that the agreement to step down “as director of the companies in the TAP universe” and revoke her “employment contract with TAP S.A., both requested by the company, as well as its public communication, was agreed between the legal teams of both parties, mandated to ensure the adoption of best practices and strict compliance with all legal precepts.”

However, in the information sent at the time to Portugal’s Securities Markets Commission, the CMVM, the airline had stated that it was Reis herself who had submitted her resignation.

Source: Lusa