Monday, 23 October 2017
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caixageral2A report into the circumstances that led to António Domingues resigning Caixa Geral de Depósitos after just a few months, is a masterpiece in evasion, failing as it does to pin down the deal done between the banker and the Finance Minister, Mário Centeno.

Domingues only took up the challenge of leading Caixa Geral if he and his invited board members were exempt from having to declare their income and assets - which directors of publically owned institutions must do.

The exemption was implied, if not actually written down, by Centeno who was keen to get Domingues and his new team on board to sort out the ailing bank’s finances with a huge capital increase and a raft of cost-cutting measures.

As for an exemption for Domingues from reporting his income, the report into the matter states that government views the matter no more than a "mistake of mutual perception."

Domingues has said time and again that there was no chance of a misunderstanding as in early March 2016, when he was invited to run the bank, he made it "absolutely clear" that the issue of reporting his income and assets was a "critical problem" if these details were made public, as would be the norm.

When the row blew up in the media, Domingues said he would report his income and assets but only if these remained lodged at the Constitutional Court and were not made public. This condition could not be met and he resigned at the end of December 2016, just four months into his term of office.

The commission’s report on the departure of Domingues, written by Luís Testa, a Socialist Party MP from Portalegre with a legal background, states that Domingues had no reason to believe that he would not have to submit his financial details, although there could have been "some merely occasional references on this subject."

This is the conclusion of the final document of the parliamentary commission of inquiry, that Domingues is ‘mistaken’ and that the Minister is blameless - implying, therefore, that the public is gullible.

"At no moment was there any agreement to amend the Legal Regime of Public Control of the Wealth of Political Officials, but there may have been occasional references on this matter," writes the commission's rapporteur, choosing words carefully as Domingues had not sought to have the law amended, only to be exempt as the government planned that the bank eventually would be privatised and hence no longer a public institution.

Luís Testa did admit he had failed to collect all the necessary information, as "there have been refusals to send certain documents, based on the invocation of professional secrecy, banking secrecy and supervisory secrecy."

The infamous ‘smoking gun’ SMS sent from a Finanças official to Domingues, which is reported to contain explicit commitments that Domingies would not have to submit his financial information, was not included in the commission of inquiry’s analysis as this would have disrupted the carefully constructed whitewash.

António Domingues has not yet commented on the conclusions of the committee of inquiry, emphasising, as he already has emphasised at committee hearings, that what was most important for Caixa Geral de Depósitos and for the country was the agreement with the European authorities and the subsequent recapitalisation of the public bank.

The document will be discussed and voted on by MEPs on 17 October.

Mario Centeno may now be remembered for "a mistake of mutual perception," while Domingues has been classy enough to avoid calling the Minister a liar.

Comments  

+3 #1 nogin the nog 2017-10-10 20:27
hmm
Throu all the smoke and mirrors . What is clear ?. The goverment employ people who for the bettor part do not want to disclose there wealth or could it be how they came by such fortunes.
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