The former Minister of Finance, Maria Luís Albuquerque, was heard this Thursday in the commission of inquiry for losses registered by Novo Banco.
Former Finance Minister Maria Luís Albuquerque said this Thursday in Parliament that was not discussed between the Government and Banco de Portugal (BdP) the possibility of public recapitalization of BES using the troika line.
The question was asked at the beginning of the session by the Left Bloc deputy Mariana Mortágua. After the reply “it was not”, the deputy deduced that, “therefore, Banco de Portugal when it spoke publicly of the public recapitalization line was talking about a theoretical possibility that was not discussed directly with the Government”.
“Exactly”, replied Maria Luís Albuquerque, adding that “there was this possibility provided for in the legislation, but it never came to be discussed specifically with the Government ”.
“It seemed difficult for me to have time. I never said whether the State would do it or not because I was never asked. The interpretation of political will does not hold me responsible“, Continued the former minister.
When the governor announced that he would have to implement the resolution, the former governor did not ask for the amount, according to Maria Luís Albuquerque, adding that the Ministry of Finance does not participate in the separation of assets and liabilities, has no access to information and has no possibility to do math.
“The Ministry of Finance does not refuse or accept values, has no technical capacity or material competence for this – the only decision of the Ministry is to approve the necessary funds for the Resolution Fund ”, said Maria Luís Albuquerque, noting that the 4.9 billion was a loan from the State but, as there was system banks to proceed with loans to the Resolution Fund, the public injection turned out to be 3.9 billion.
“The notes from the meeting I have say that the estimate would be between 5,000 and 5,500 million. I thought it was too much. But 4,900 billion also found a lot, ”he said.
The former minister also guaranteed: “I I never set a ceiling on the value, I was unable to do so ”.
The former minister continued to blame the BdP for blame. “The Ministry of Finance did not and could not have any responsibility for the resolution, unless you change the law. It wouldn’t make sense any other way. The Ministry of Finance does not have access to confidential information that Banco de Portugal does, the Ministry of Finance is not supposed to have ”, he reiterated.
Failed sale was “unfortunate”
Asked about the possibility of extending the term of the sale, Maria Luís Albuquerque said that what follows from the rules is that the transitional bank has to be sold in up to two years, but it is desirable to be in three or six months. “It is a bank without an owner, without strategic guidance.”
According to the former minister, extending the term “it was not the national interest nor did it protect the financial system. Extending the term would never be something that would generate value, on the contrary ”.
Maria Luís Albuquerque also considered the failed sale of Novo Banco in 2015 “unfortunate”. “It was explained that there were 7 banks in the race, there was nothing to predict that the sale could not be granted”, but “what Banco de Portugal told me is that it understood that given the great interest that the process had aroused, once these were overcome issues ”, the process could proceed even within the term of the loan, which was August 2016.
According to the minister, the sale was the responsibility of BdP, and the Finance approved procedures. As the sale failed, the conditions would have to be discussed with Finance because it would be necessary to take them to the European Commission, “but unfortunately we have not reached that stage”.
Asked about the May 2014 meeting with Ricardo Salgado and José Honório, in which a memorandum was presented that showed liabilities of more than seven billion in GES, the former governor does not recall the amount. However, remember that it was said at the meetings that there was a worrying situation in the non-financial area and that a restructuring was needed.
The former finance minister also removed the link between the clean exit from the assistance program, which occurred in May 2014, and a possible postponement of an intervention at BES. “BES’s question has never been posed as conditioning, or tarnishing the clean outlet. It was not possible for anyone to have this perception”On the data.
Maria Luís finds “curious” José Honório at BES
Asked about the moment when José Honório temporarily accepted to be a consultant for the Espírito Santo group, Maria Luís said: “I don’t have to be surprised or surprised. The meeting was asked of me by a bank president. It was what was missing the Minister of Finance says that he could not be accompanied by this or that person ”, replied
Afterwards, Honório went on to become vice president of BES. Maria Luís Albuquerque considered it “curious” that Honório had been so concerned about the Group and then accepted to be vice-president. “But this is a personal strangeness of mine, it is not relevant.”
About seeing possible “conflicts of interest” by João Moreira Rato, for having participated in a fund that would eventually be sold to the Espírito Santo group, Maria Luís replied: “The short answer is no”.
“The Doctor. João Moreira Rato is a first water professional, is a very competent person and that is why he was chosen for IGCP at an important time (return to the markets). The fact that I had a stake in a fund, several years earlier, that would end up being bought by GES…. I don’t see how it could be a conflict of interest ”.
Maria Campos, ZAP //