Red card. Vítor Fernandes and Ramalho were searched for

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António Cotrim / Lusa

Vítor Fernandes, President-designated by the Government for the Board of Directors of Banco de Fomento, was the target of judicial searches within the scope of Operation Red Card.

Second advances the Observer, the former office of Victor Fernandes at Novo Banco, it was wiped out by the authorities and the bank manager’s home was also visited by the authorities, with a personal computer being taken.

The online news site advances though that too António Ramalho and other administrators of Novo Banco were also targets of prosecutors of the Public Ministry and agents of the Tax Authority on July 7, the day of the searches of the Red Card Operation.

At Novo Banco’s headquarters, the authorities also visited several personal safes, including one by Vítor Fernandes, but didn’t find any proof relevant.

Neither Vítor Fernandes nor António Ramalho are currently regarded by the Public Ministry as formal suspects.

Speaking to the Observer, Vítor Fernandes underlined that he has nothing to hide. “I’m a discreet person, I’m not suspected of any crime and they’re ruining my career for nothing. It’s a very strong personal revolt. The only thing that is at issue is that I have an alleged privileged relationship with mr. Luís Filipe Vieira, which is false”.

Fernandes says he has “all the conditions to take possession” as chairman of the Development Bank. “I have competence, suitability and availability”.

Following Operation Red Card, writes the Observer, Novo Banco’s board of directors launched a internal audit to evaluate the conducts that are described by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the indictment order.

The audit, which is being carried out by the internal audit director, Pedro Reis, was launched the day after the searches that were carried out at the financial institution, related to the case of Imosteps, a company owned by Luís Filipe Vieira.

Parties want to remove Fernandes

O PAN he wants the parliament to take “a formal position” to demand the Government to withdraw the nomination proposal Vítor Fernandes for Banco Português de Fomento, and will present a draft resolution in this regard. There are already more parties asking for the same.

“The PAN intends that the Assembly of the Republic take a formal position in order to demand that the Government, in the scope of the process of choosing the members of the Board of Directors of Banco Português de Fomento, withdraw the proposal for the appointment of Vítor Fernandes and indicate, in the shortest possible time, a alternative name that meets the requirements of the legislation in force”, they announced in a statement.

This position taken by the parliament will take the form of a draft resolution, a recommendation to the Government (without the force of law) to withdraw the proposed designation of Vítor Fernandes, taking into account his connection to businessman Luís Filipe Vieira, also president of Sport Lisboa e Benfica, with its functions suspended, which is one of those held in the Red Card operation.

The PAN thus joins the BE and to Liberal Initiative, who have already expressed themselves against the appointment.

“Without prejudice to respect for the principle of the presumption of innocence, the suspicions of close connections between Vítor Fernandes and Luís Filipe Vieira, as well as the potential impact that these connections may have had on the balance of public accounts, lead us to believe that this name chosen by Government does not give the minimum guarantees of respect for the principle of pursuing the public interest”, the PAN maintains in the draft resolution.

According to the explanatory memorandum of the recommendation, this appointment “may call into question the image of Banco Português de Fomento among European institutions and jeopardize the important mission in the economic recovery of the country that is assigned to it”.

The Liberal Initiative defended on Sunday, in a statement, that Vítor Fernandes is unable to perform the functions of chairman of the Board of Directors of Banco de Fomento, noting that he is “one of the people that Luís Filipe Vieira is prevented from contacting under the measures of coercion imposed by the investigating judge” Carlos Alexandre.

Earlier, the BE coordinator, Catarina Martins, had done the same underlining, in a presentation of municipal candidacies in Vila do Conde, district of Porto.

Catarina Martins found it strange to hand over a mechanism for the recovery of the country’s economy and employment – ​​Banco do Fomento – “to someone who is linked to the successive banking scandals” experienced in recent years.

Luís Filipe Vieira was one of those arrested on Wednesday as part of the Red Card operation, which investigates suspected crimes of breach of trust, qualified fraud, forgery, tax fraud and money laundering.