Public Ministry “working on who gets what” from seized BES millions

DCIAP investigators are in touch with “around 400” former BES clients who claim to have lost fortunes as a result of the private bank’s collapse last year. They are believed to be close to working out ‘who gets what’ in compensation, reports national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

Itemising the number of properties seized from what it calls the BES “clan”, CM claims the goods “arrested” by the Public Ministry from family members and companies of the Espírito Santo Group (GES) “will be used to pay the €500 million that damaged clients had invested in commercial paper applications” if no other solution is found.

Up until now, ‘damaged’ clients have been centring their efforts for full compensation on Novo Banco, the so-called good bank that emerged from the BES collapse, and which itself is still trying to find a buyer.

Itemising the properties waiting to be shared out, CM says they used to belong to former BES boss Ricardo Salgado (currently held under house arrest with a police guard), his son José, his family business, his cousin José Manuel, “various GES companies” and former right-hand man, Amílcar Morais Santos.

CM adds that the Espírito Santo family, “almost in its majority”, blames Ricardo Salgado for the fall of the banking empire – along with the Bank of Portugal, investigators and regulators.

Among gold, watches, works of art, carpets and even cash seized by the Public Ministry, CM lists the 592 buildings – including the 107 urban and rustic properties in the Alentejo resort of Comporta which earlier this year were said to be being bought by US investment fund Armory Merchant for €100 million.

Jornal de Notícias later reported Armory Merchant had dropped out of the deal, due to the Public Ministry’s blanket seizure.

Also withdrawn from any kind of sale is Hotel Tivoli, Vilamoura, writes CM, 230 apartments in Praia da Rocha, Algarve, and Espírito Santo family residences in Cascais and Comporta.

As CM explains, people who have lodged claims against the Espírito Santo empire have started being heard by DCIAP investigators, with a view to being reimbursed “through indemnities paid as a result of this inquiry”.

CM adds that indemnities “guaranteed by the seizure of goods and property” formerly belonging to the banking empire come to €1.8 billion.

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