TAP archive photo, showing Christine Ourmières-Widener (left) when still CEO: António Cotrim/ Lusa
TAP archive photo, showing Christine Ourmières-Widener (left) when still CEO: António Cotrim/ Lusa

TAP “golden handshakes” very much ‘order of the day’

Sacked CFO reveals State airline’s €27 million “indemnity fund”

After all the brouhaha, government resignations and subsequent sackings it now appears that ‘golden handshakes’ dispensed by State airline TAP were very much the order of the day.

“TAP pays 35 workers millionaire indemnities”, headlines Saturday’s edition of Correio da Manhã.

The assertion “comes from sacked CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener”, says the paper – adding that equally sacked CFO Gonçalo Pires “revealed in the parliamentary hearing” into what has been going on in TAP that, in February 2022, the airline held a “€27 million provision for indemnities. €2.3 million of which was for unforeseen compensations”.

This has always been the ‘niggle’ in the story that broke late last year over the €500,000 golden handshake paid to former Treasury secretary Alexandra Reis. 

How many other golden indemnities had the State airline handed out when taxpayers had been forced to buoy the company up with €3.2 billion?

The answer, finally, seems to be 35.

“TAP paid each one of the workers who left the company last year indemnities of over €200,000”, writes CM. “Of this universe of staff members, 12 received awards of more than €250,000 and one was contemplated in the value of €330,000.

“In total, the company spent €7.7 million in indemnities to 35 (exiting) workers”.

Responding in writing over her dismissal, Ms Ourmières-Widener tells the general directorate of the treasury and finances (DGTF) that these compensations “did not cause any perplexity to those who knew of them”.

Large sums, like the €500,000 paid out to Alexandra Reis, were “not unique”: in 2018, for example (admittedly before the Portuguese State bought back into the airline) outgoing director Maximilian Otto Urbahn received a golden handshake of €1.35 million.

TAP lawyers subsequently considered the deal ‘illegal’, and requested Mr Orbahn refund the money, to date “without success”, Gonçalo Pires has told MPs.

So far, also, no details have been given of the indemnities paid out to four other outgoing TAP top brass since 2020.

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