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Attorney General investigates PT - for years used by directors 'for their own personal benefit'

ptPortugal’s Attorney General is to investigate the old Portugal Telecom, up to the point is was sold to Altice, on suspicion that successive management teams and politicians have used the cash-rich company for their personal benefit.

The Portuguese authorities at long last are to investigating decisions made by former Portugal Telecom directors and their illegal activities which led to catastrophic losses. The rot has been evident to Portugal’s business community and media for decades, up until the point when the remaining parts of the once profitable company was sold to Partick Draghi’s telecoms giant, Altice.

Draghi is not in the frame as official sources in the Attorney General's Office informed the news service, Público, that the sale of PT to Altice "is not under investigation at this time."

The Public Prosecutor's Office is analysing decisions made by PT’s, directors  managers and shareholders (including PT's major shareholder, the Espírito Santo Group) after gathering information from Portugal and Brazil as part of Operation Marquês and Lava Jacto and the merger of PT with Brazil’s Oi, with the invaluable help of Otávio Azevedo as a source.

Azevedo, a former president of Oi, was a director of Oi in 2014 and has become one of the best sources of information for Judge Sérgio Moro.

Much of the information from Azevedo also is very useful to Rosário Teixeira who is in charge of Operation Marquês as it refers to mismanagement at PT, in addition to corruption.

One of the main objectives of the investigation is to understand how the largest Portuguese company, which once had a cash account containing over €3 billion, collapsed when it lost €987 million from a loan made to the Espírito Santo Group’s Rioforte in July, 2014.

The non-payment of interest or capital on the due date, forced Rioforte to seek shelter under a Luxembourg court’s protection while the rest of the Espírito Santo Group, including BES, collapsed.

One of the explanations for this mysterious lack of cash is an agreement signed with Oi in 2010 which turned a PT investment of €5.4 billion into less than €200 million. Another explanation, and one that already has many prominent businessmen reaching for the phone to call their lawyers, is the well-founded suspicion that PT for years has been used by politicians, shareholders and managers for their own benefit.

With a whistleblower now blowing hard, maybe the truth behind the collapse of PT finally can be revealed and those responsible, held to account.


+1 #1 Dennis.P 2017-08-17 15:18
Portugal shot itself in the foot years ago with Portugal Telecom, as with so many of the other oligarchs business interests, in not allowing any serious competition to their interests. In economics textbooks called monopolies and in theory against EU accepted practice. Even now the main telecoms players in Portugal are various divisions of Portugal Telecom. To operate in Portugal the franchise Vodafone PT had to pass over a controlling share of its business - to its indigenous monopolistic competitor.
Can anyone remember Word Telecom ? Went belly up (?) around 2013 but struggled along for years before that. One gross anti-competition absurdity being the 6 weeks or more it took to switch from a Portugal Telecom account to World Telecom. Seem to remember World Telecom begging us, over several phone calls, to hang on - not stay with PT - whilst this change over took place. As they told us, only needing a switch flicked on and off at the exchange but - "this was Portugal"!