Twice-decorated Portuguese businessman and art collector José ‘Joe’ Berardo has 30 days to contest a report compiled as a result of the controversial audience he had with MPs trying to get to the bottom of how he could have borrowed close to a billion euros, and not appear to be too bothered with paying any of it back.
The grilling – relayed live by parliamentary television – caused outrage up and down the country, and led to calls that the Madeiran entrepreneur should be formally stripped of his honours (click here)
This would be an unprecedented move for anyone who has not been condemned by the courts – and even then some VIPs have still managed to hold on to their reputations (click here).
Led by former parliamentary president Mota Amaral, the report cites Berardo’s “facetious arrogance”, and includes what newspapers call a “disciplinary note” – meaning that Mota Amaral found reason for Berardo to be sanctioned.
But this certainly doesn’t imply he will lose his honours.
The sanction could be a “warning or an admonishment”, says Expresso.
Losing the honours bestowed by two separate Portuguese presidents would be the worse case scenario.
For now, the council overseeing national honours will mull over the report, as Berardo has the statutory 30 days to respond to it.
Says tabloid Correio da Manhã, the fact that Berardo has already admitted in a note to parliamentary leader Ferro Rodrigues that there were some “unfortunate” moments in the high-profile audience could suggest that a mere apology will in the end suffice.