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Ditched Herdade da Comporta sale - phone tapping reveals shady dealings

ComportaAerialThe Public Prosecutor's Office clarified today that it has foiled the Herdade da Comporta deal, the estate's controlling compaines were due to be sold to Pedro Almeida’s company, Ardmar Imobiliária, due to blatant insider dealing, or more politely put, it considered that the conditions of "transparency and objectivity" were not assured.

"The Public Prosecutor's Office analysed the way the sale process was conducted, and detected, during its various phases, procedures involving several participants that indicated that the conditions of exemption, transparency and objectivity were disregarded," reads the public prosecutor’s statement.

“Thus, on the understanding that the legal conditions established for the disposal of assets under judicial protection were not met, the Prosecutor's Office objected on October 19 to the lifting of the asset freeze,” meaning that the sale could not go through as the State would not release its hold on the property, frozen with the rest of Rioforte’s property portfolio which is needed to repay the State which incurred losses when Grupo Espírito Santo collapsed.

Herdade da Comporta, located in the Alcácer do Sal and Grândola council areas, was acquired by the Espírito Santo family in 1987 and is the much talked about ‘jewel in the crown’ of the family’s erstwhile assets.

Faced with the financial collapse of the Espírito Santo Group, a court in Luxembourg placed Herdade da Comporta on sale. As the investigations into the Espirito Santo Group progressed, Portugal's Public Prosecutor's Office successfully petitioned for a judicial order, granted in May, 2015, to prevent any assets and valuables being sold off by the Luxembourg administrator. This froze the two companies that control the Herdade da Comporta estate, in turn controlled by Rioforte which was being liquidated in Luxembourg.

Riopforte applied, successfully, to have the freeze lifted so the estate could be sold and the Central Criminal Investigation Court and the Public Prosecutor's Office agreed as long as the principles of 'exemption, transparency and objectivity,' were followed. They have not been.

In July, 2017, Rioforte announced the sale of Comporta to Ardmar Imobiliária, stating on July 10, 2017 that the company had signed a promissory contract.

The sale process was being run by the Luxembourg administrators, advised by Haitong Bank, an auditor and legal support.

The company that brokered the deal with Ardmar Imobiliária belongs to Caetano Espírito Santo Beirão da Veiga, a former manager of the Espírito Santo Group. His company, Back In Line, is suspected of passing privileged information to Pedro Almeida, who has been under covert surveillance and has been subject to searches by the Department of Investigation and Criminal Action which used phone tapping to establish whether Pedro Almeida was involved in insider dealing and the use of privileged information.

DCIAP clearly suspects that there has been a sharing of confidential information between Caetano Espírito Santo Beirão da Veiga, the company Back In Line, and Almeida, who has made no secret among his circle of friends of his links to the Espírito Santo family shareholders in the Comporta companies - this alone should have barred him from making a bid, as it was the excuse used by haitong bank to bar Armory Merchant, a US investment fund, from putting in an offer for the estate.

Caetano Espírito Santo Beirão da Veiga, a former manager of the Espírito Santo Group, is the brother of Carloto Espírito Santo Beirão da Veiga, the administrator of the Herdade da Comporta company.

It is suspected that, to the detriment of other prospective buyers, Pedro Almeida had access to privileged information before presenting his proposal to the administrators of Rioforte, whose activities are being run by the Luxembourg court's administrator.

Due to these investigations, Portugal's Public Prosecutor’s office opposed the sale of the Comporta Estate by formally objecting, on October 19, to the unfreezing of Herdade da Comporta assets. The estate once again was frozen.

This decision was notified to interested parties on October 24, 2017 and leave Pedro Almeida’s reputation in tatters. As for Caetano Espírito Santo Beirão da Veiga, and his brother, Carloto Espírito Santo Beirão da Veiga, this behaviour is par for the course.

The scenario has played out as predicted by seasoned deal-maker Asher Edelman who has asked that Armory Merchant be considered as a suitable candidate should Herdade da Comporta again be unfrozen and offered for sale.


See also: 'Herdade da Comporta - game back on for thwarted US fund'


https://algarvedailynews.com/images/news/CaetanoBeirodaVeiga.jpgCaetano Espírito Santo Beirão da Veiga, formerly of the Espírito Santo Group



Carloto Espírito Santo Beirão da Veiga, administrator of the Comporta Estate

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