Newsletter: Ikea, man on the moon, Montepio and residency rules

Dear reader

A week of news and views from the Algarve...

Firstly, a thank you to the Portugal Resident for the use of many of its news items last week while Mr and Mrs Ed were on a ‘fact finding mission’ in the north of Portugal. One fact was ‘snow in the Serra da Estrela,’ but I digress...

The President of the Republic was displaying his easy charm in Faro last weekend when he engaged with group of noisy protestors outside a conference whose ironic title, ‘For the Excellence of the Economy of the Algarve’ was not lost on those opposed to the government’s covert oil and gas agenda.

The ever-smiling Rebelo de Sousa tried the old, "more chance of me going to the moon than finding oil in the Algarve" approach. He did not mention gas, of course, as huge deposits were mapped long before the current 'bargain basement' concession deals were signed to the overwheling benefit of the oil companies.

The problem in Faro was that the President lied, or, if we are being charitable, the president was ‘badly advised.’ Either way, Rebelo de Sousa laudably had decided to talk to the crowd but clearly had failed to get abreast of the current issues surrounding the hydrocarbon concession contracts which are causing the government increasing discomfort.

It is saddening to conclude that the president deliberately lied to the public but, unless he really has been badly advised, this was the case.

The Minister of the Sea already has proved herself to be duplicitous over the oil concession process. Ana Paula Vitorino has used the high risk strategy of lying to parliament but if the obfuscation being promoted by the government has been adopted by the President of the Republic of Portugal, this is a serious matter and questions must be asked as to Rebelo de Sousa’s political independence.

ASMAA’s Laurinda Seabra asks: “if the President was just badly informed by his advisors or if there is indeed an orchestrated effort to mislead the Portuguese nation?”

For an explanation of the concession contracts and drilling licences, see:

http://algarvedailynews.com/news/11325-president-marcelo-disappoints-algarve

On the plus side, protestors from the Ria Formosa islands elicited a promise from the President that they could come and see him in Lisbon to discuss their plight.

The islanders sent a written plea to the president on March 4th, which has yet to be replied to, so many of them still face the demolition of their property. Hopefully, sense will prevail and the president will stop this silliness.

The British owners of a house under threat of demolition on the island of Armona have Olhão Mayor, António Pina, on their side, not surprisingly as it was Pina that gave them permission to build.

The mayor says the disputed zone on Armona that encompasses 140 properties is all perfectly legal and the reason the two Britons have been told to remove their house is down to one man, the former head of Polis, Sebastião Teixeira, who somehow managed to stay on at the head of the regional environment agency and has issued the demolition notice.

Pina reckons that, as Teixeria was thwarted in his mission of demolishing hundreds of properties on the Ria Formosa islands, he is taking out his frustrations on the two 'foreigners' who have until April 6th to remove their property or have it seized and knocked down.

Paul Roseby and James Tod are fighting back:

http://algarvedailynews.com/news/11313-british-theatre-director-vows-to-strap-himself-to-the-walls-of-armona-home-if-bulldozers-move-in

The stuff of nightmares: a simple laboratory test on a fluid sample taken from a boy’s mouth was contaminated with an earlier test involving human sperm - the same slide had been used in both tests.

The police were called in to investigate the alleged sexual abuse of the boy and a case developed in which ‘the resulting furore put the family through an authentic nightmare, even dividing the parents.’

This monumental foul-up happened at an Albufeira laboratory in May 2009 and the family finally has been compensated for this error. As for the technician: he was acquitted.

http://algarvedailynews.com/news/11311-mistakes-by-albufeira-laboratory-led-to-father-and-grandfather-living-child-sex-abuse-nightmare

Is there a bank left in Portugal that has not been hit by allegations of fraud and corruption?

Montepio is the latest case in point. Former banking boss, Tomás Correia, already under investigation for fraud, money-laundering and corruption, has been cited by the Bank of Portugal along with eight former directors for 'grave illegalities.'

Correia remains tranquil, don't they all, and expects the possible €4 million fine simply to evaporate but the allegation should be picked up by the public prosecutor - let the court decide.

Many of Portugal’s banks seem to have been run as clubs operating for the benefit of their directors.

Much of the fraud and corruption has been possible due to an inefficient regulatory regime under the Bank of Portugal whose governor, Carlos ‘Mr Magoo’ Costa, will be accused in a documentary next week of knowing full well for over a year that BES was operating while bust, yet did nothing and later was ‘economical with the truth’ when reporting to a parliamentary committee.

http://algarvedailynews.com/news/11309-montepio-directors-in-new-banking-controversy

Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Portuguese Republic has been in the Algarve and later commented to Portuguese media that "various British residents in the Algarve" are considering applying for dual nationality in preparation for Brexit.

http://algarvedailynews.com/news/11324-brits-opting-for-dual-nationality-as-brexit-moves-forwards

A widely read and informative article on how to apply for Portuguese citizenship and what to expect has been published in algarvedailynews.com, written by reader Sue Fletcher who has completed the citizenship process.

http://algarvedailynews.com/features/legal/11006-become-a-portuguese-citizen-and-keep-your-british-passport

Sue Fletcher’s latest and equally informative article looks at 'residency in Portugal' - which everyone must have if living here for longer than three months. There is a fine of between €400 and €1,500 applicable to those who assume they are allowed to live in Portugal without completing the necessary formalities.

This is essential reading for expatriates who live ‘under the radar,’ an increasingly dangerous way of life with Brexit now in process:

http://algarvedailynews.com/news/11341-are-you-legal-in-portugal-rules-on-residency-for-citizens-of-the-eu-eea-and-switzerland

While not yet displaying the irreversible mental decline of Alzheimer’s sufferers such as Ernest Saunders, Armando Vara last week did, rather conveniently, display signs of forgetfulness when questioned by MPs on conversations he engaged in with José Sócrates relating to Caixa Geral de Depósitos - not the sort of conversation you would forget easily as Sócrates was the prime minister at the time.

Vara remained calm throughout his four hour grilling and came up with a memorable, rather mind-bending, statement to MP Hugo Santos, “I am not a prisoner of what you think, nor of what you think others think,” ... interesting that he used the word ‘prisoner’ as he soon will be facing trial, along with many other forgetful suspects, as a result of the long running Operation Marquês inquiry.

http://algarvedailynews.com/news/11322-vara-pulls-senior-moment-when-grilled-over-how-many-times-he-discussed-cgd-with-socrates

With the Bank of Portugal, the stock market regulator CMVM and Caixa Geral’s current directors all determined to keep secret the reasons for the huge loans handed out like confetti to preferred customers, Caixa Geral’s recapitalisation process has started - but at a cost that shows the bank is marked as a high risk investment.

A €500 million debt issue was launched and was fully subscribed last week, with international investors queuing around the block to lend money to Caixa Geral at an astounding 10.75% interest rate.

The Left Bloc’s Mariana Mortágua has demanded a halt to the bank's recapitalisation plans as if the market is only willing to lend at this usurious interest rate, what will be the fate of the €2.5 billion the taxpayer is being forced to ‘invest’ in this suspect institution?

The last €1.2 billion seems to have evaporated, so why throw in more money when the directors are unwilling to explain the bank’s dark past?

If the State-owned bank is not forthcoming about its previous corrupt activities, the public has every right to know what has been going on and how its money has been squandered, how can Caixa Geral be trusted to play fair in the future?

http://algarvedailynews.com/news/11340-caixa-geral-forced-to-pay-a-staggering-10-7-interest-on-new-debt-issue

Safety standards on any building site should exceed the legal minimum. The second death at the Ikea store being built near Loulé is a tragedy for those concerned, not least the victim's family, and a full inquiry will be carried out.

One earlier death at the Ikea site was one too many but last week a woman died, crushed under a stack of falling pallets.

The store is due to open on March 30th and contractors have been under pressure to hit this deadline. Let’s hope the accident was not due to rushed work with corners being cut on safety.

http://algarvedailynews.com/news/11338-ikea-worker-dies-at-loule-construction-site

Collectors Corner: Cecil Aldin (1870 to 1935) was a British artist and illustrator best known for his paintings and sketches of animals, sports, and rural life. For sale is a pair of 1901 Aldin chromolithographs printed by Lawrence & Bullen of Covent Garden:

http://algarvedailynews.com/features/art-culture/11335-antique-art-mated-and-revoked-for-sale

New advertiser: welcome to Seven Quintas in Almancil whose advert now rises majestically on the right hand side of the algarvedailynews.com website. Also, Cerro Novo’s property of the week is a pretty single-level house in Albufeira, with garden:

http://algarvedailynews.com/property-news/11305-convenient-well-located-bungalow-in-albufeira

For readers that will be in Ireland in May, here are details of the Overseas Property Show which will focus on properties in Portugal and Spain and is ideal for those who are looking to buy a holiday home overseas or planning to move permanently:

http://algarvedailynews.com/property-news/11227-ireland-baby-the-leading-overseas-property-show-comes-to-dublin-limerick-and-cork-in-may

Until next week

Ed

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