Tax benefits row sees former Finance Minister’s top job “on hold”

Former finance minister Maria Luís Albuquerque’s controverial ‘new’ job with Arrow Global is on hold following claims that the latter has been enjoying all kinds of tax benefits and perks in Portugal since 2010.

They are claims that Arrow Global is refuting, but which national tabloid Correio da Manhã says it has from the ‘horse’s mouth’ (the ‘Autoridade Tributária’ tax authority).

A list published by the AT shows that between 2011 and 2014, one of the many businesses bought up by Arrow Global received thousands of euros in benefits.

Whitestar Servicing Company, for instance, received “more than 41,000 euros”, while Whitestar Asset Solutions received 362,000 and Gesphone “more than 19,000”.

These societies were all purchased by Arrow Global in 2015, writes CM.

But five years before that, Arrow “had already purchased 800 million in credits from failing Portuguese banks and other companies, 300 million of which were bought from Banif”.

And it is here that left wingers (the Bloco Esquerda and PCP communists) are most keen to get answers.

Their concern is not simply that Albuquerque has shown extreme haste in supplementing her MPs pay with a non-executive directorship that is reportedly going to pay her 100,000 euros a year for between two and five days work per month (click here), but how much collusion there may have been between the former finance boss and her new prospective employers.

The Banif debacle – strung out by the last government because they did not want it to affect their chances in the elections – is particularly under left-wing scrutiny.

For now, CM reports Albuquerque will not be walking into Arrow’s job until the ethics subcommission has reported to parliament.

Meantime, the BE and PCP have asked the government for a list “of all the stock acquired by businesses within the universe of Arrow Global in Portugal while Albuquerque was Finance Minister”.

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