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Caixa Geral - taxpayers foot the legal bill for former-president António Domingues

caixageral2Public money was used to pay the lawyers advising António Domingues, the short-lived president of Caixa Geral de Depósitos, as they worked on legal amendments to the laws applicable to the appointment of managers of State-controlled public companies.

Domingues was negotiating a vastly increased salary and bonus scheme as a condition of a grateful nation employing his services, but he also wanted an exemption from having to lodge his income and asset statements at the Court of Auditors, a normal requirement for any manager of a State-owned business.

The legal work, undertaken by Campos Ferreira, Sá Carneiro & Associados to allow the higher salary packages and to exempt Domingues (pictured below) and his fellow directors from the rules, related to May last year, before Domingues was employed by the bank in August.

Today’s report in the eco (economia online) news service says this is the same law firm that is advising Caixa Geral on the legal aspects of the bank’s probable refinancing.

"Caixa works with several law firms depending on their needs and specialties. The work contracted to this company was one of several arising from the activity" said Caixa, after being questioned by eco about who paid the Domingues’ legal bill.

Domingues joined Caixa Geral in August last year but was out at the end of December. He had a verbal agreement with the Finance Minister that he and fellow new directors should be exempt from the normal reporting of income assets. This agreement later was denied by minister Mario Caetano who lied to parliament about the agreement, yet remains in his job due to support from the prime minister and the president - due to the fact that the economy is doing better and the PM does not want European colleagues to witness the sacking of a key minister.

The fact that taxpayers in effect have paid the legal bills for the wealthy, avaricious and secretive Domingues will stick in the throat of the public and opposition MPs.   

The law firm is saying nothing to confirm or deny, pointing enquirers to Article 92 of the Statute of the Bar Association, "We are bound to keep professional secrecy regarding all the facts whose knowledge comes from the exercise of our functions or the provision of our services."

The Minister of Finance admitted in a press conference that the amendment to the ‘Statute of the Public Manager’ to allow the salary hikes, "was made with the support of a technical team and lawyers who were collaborating in the whole process with the perfect knowledge of the Ministry of Finance."

Who is right? Domingues will argue that his pre-contract demands, if they required an amendment to the laws and statutes, should be paid for by the State.

The media suggests today that if Domingues needed legal advice before taking office, he should pay for this himself.

Perhaps the illuminating fact is that Caixa Geral picked up the bill, not the Ministry of Finance which would have done so had the legal work been focused on a law change.

Also highlighted is a growing concern that private legal firms are being employed to re-draft legislation.

 

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Comments  

0 #1 PePo 2017-02-22 08:57
Thankfully, Doningues left the bank after just 4 months or so. What a grasping shit he turned out to be even though much of the blame for this disaster must be on Centeno's head - agreeing things he had no power to agree. This government is full of such amateurs.

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