Portugal’s “property sale of the century” stymied by Luxembourg court

Liquidators in Luxembourg have suspended Portugal’s so-called “property sale of the century” – the €400 million deal announced in April and centring on 12,500 hectares of prime Alentejo real estate previously owned by the Espírito Santo financial empire.

Herdade da Comporta cannot now be sold to US “equity fund” Armory Merchant Holdings – which is described as “distancing itself until the situation becomes clearer”.

Armory’s joint boss Asher Edelman made the announcement following what could also be dubbed as the “seizure of the century” (see:https://www.portugalresident.com/police-seize-over-a-billion-euros-worth-of-esp%C3%ADrito-santo-family-assets) authorised by super-judge Carlos Alexandre.

The likelihood now is that not only will Armory’s “purchase” not go ahead, but that the State will be the entity most likely to benefit from any future property deals.

As the nation’s media explained earlier this month, Alexandre authorised the seizure of over a billion euros worth of property – Herdade de Comporta included – to “guarantee any damages that could be awarded as a result of criminal charges” in an eventual case over the collapse of BES.

As Público explains, liquidators are now “cooperating” with the Portuguese authorities, namely DCIAP (the central department of investigation and penal action).

Their decision to suspend the Comporta sale has not only “put off buyers potentially interested in the touristic project”, explains Oberservador website, it has “penalised” Caixa Geral de Depósitos – which is carrying a €100 million debt on the property – and done nothing to help PT, who were hoping the sale of former BES assets would reimburse at least part of the catastrophic €900 million ‘loan’ made to BES subsidiary Rioforte shortly before the whole Espírito Santo empire went belly-up.

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