It could be an ingenious game – or it could be a genuine ‘excuse’ – but the truth is that former BES bank lord Ricardo Salgado remains locked under house arrest in his Cascais mansion, claiming to have no funds with which to post bail.
As newspapers reported last month, the former ‘Dono Disto Tudo’ (boss of all this) who fell from grace after BES collapsed owing billions was freed on the say-so of super judge Carlos Alexandre, on the condition that he came up with another €3 million surety.
This was in addition to the €3 million he stumped up for his freedom as investigators probe the so-called Monte Branco money-laundering scandal.
With his assets frozen and properties round the world seized, Salgado argued that he simply cannot find that kind of money.
Alexandre reduced the bail surety by half, but still Salgado claims to be unable to meet it.
Of course, if he could he would be opening himself up to further investigation by showing prosecutors avenues of wealth that they have missed.
This is what national tabloid Correio da Manhã claims is behind the story.
“Carlos Alexandre is not giving up,” the paper writes. “The judge believes there is property outside the country that the investigation hasn’t found.”
But Salgado was not born yesterday, and as anyone who has passed his Cascais home will have realised, house arrest with a sea view in rolling grounds is very possibly quite comfortable.
As an aside, appeal court judges have applauded Salgado’s “attitude” compared to that of José Sócrates, who has spared no breath in criticism of Portugal’s justice system after almost a year in enforced incarceration.
Meantime, the BES ‘fallout’ continues to take victims. Now, Novo Banco – the bank that rose from BES’ ashes – has announced it will be slashing “around 1,000 jobs” as part of a new cost-cutting exercise.
Photo: MIGUEL A.LOPES/LUSA