Described as the “largest seizur of all time” amounting to as much as a billion euros, the PJ’s “asset recovery office” is reported to have impounded more than 500 properties belonging to the Espírito Santo family “at various points of the globe, principally Brazil”.
The billion-euro seizure “serves to guarantee any damages that could be awarded as a result of criminal charges”.
Authorised by “super-judge” Carlos Alexandre – the lawman at the head of the central court of criminal instruction (TIC) – “many of the properties” are understood to be in the name of former BES boss Ricardo Salgado.
As national tabloid Correio da Manhã reports this morning, the properties are now all held by the Portuguese State.
The “apprehensions” took place during “the last days of last week” and are understood to have been assets of the bankrupt former BES subsidiary Rioforte, the collapse of which led to the implosion of BES last summer “and the opening of various inquiries by the public ministry”.
According to CM, the seizures took place “in the greatest secrecy” with the overriding intention being to “guarantee that clients will be reimbursed in future”.
It is news that may come as a relief to the thousands who lost life savings in the collapse of the BES financial empire last summer.
CM adds that the bank boss Salgado is not only being investigated over the collapse of BES, but also suspected of “economic crimes” in a separate case centring on financial corruption known as “Monte Branco”.
CM’s exclusive today concludes: “Judge Carlos Alexandre and magistrates at the central department of investigation and penal action (DCIAP) will not rest until they get to the property of Ricardo Salgado obtained through the holding company which provoked the fall of BES – the bank that used to be one of the largest private banks in Portugal”.
Photo by: MARIO CRUZ/LUSA