UPDATE: Novo Banco accused of “stealing” Tavira hotel and “treating tourists worse than pigs”

A tired and emotional businessman has accused “good bank” Novo Banco of “stealing” his hotel and treating his clients “worse than pigs”.

“What a fine image this is of Portuguese tourism,” Eng. Manuel Simões described the peremptory scenes yesterday when legal representatives walked into Tavira’s 4-star Porta Nova hotel and literally shut it down without a moment’s notice.

“One hundred and forty clients,” Simões told us. “That is how many people were put out into the street, treated worse than pigs. In all my years in the hotel business, I never thought I would see anything like this.

“This was an assault, pure and simple.

“Novo Banco, the former Banco Espírito Santo, has shown Portugal and the rest of the world an image of “porcaria” (filth). A bank of bad faith. A bank that has already stolen from small investors, emigrants and now this.

“But this isn’t the worst of it,” Simões continued. “The worst is that Novo Banco has now put another 48 people – that’s 48 families all told – out of work.

“I have spoken to all the workers. None of us had seen this coming. We will do our best to integrate people into other hotels we have, but we cannot possibly offer everyone work.

“It is too much to describe. I haven’t slept for two nights,” he added.

Simões’ bewilderment was palpable. He told us the seizure of Porta Nova on Wednesday followed two leasing agreements that his company had entered into.

“It was a leasing to pay financing that had already been made. We were paying a kind of rent,” he explained.

“We are civilised people,” he added. “I am not a violent man. We just have to hope that Portuguese justice will do the right thing.”

Simões’ lawyers are now presenting a case against Novo Banco, he told us, saying we were at total liberty to call him in the next few days to hear what if anything has changed.

Simões explained his company Algartemático SA runs three hotels in the Algarve, all part of MGE group. Only Porta Nova is affected by the leasing agreement, so the two others – Balaia Atlântico and Paraíso de Albufeira – are unaffected, with business going ahead as usual.

As to the costs of this furore, Simões put them at €7,500,000. This is very possibly the value of the hotel which he is now prohibited from entering. We were not able to confirm this point, as his phone is now bouncing calls to voicemail.
Displaced clients meantime have been absorbed by the other hotels in the group, as well as in other hotels in the area, he told us.

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