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After €18 million Salgado bung - PT's Zeinal Bava splashed out on luxury apartments

zeinalbavaAn investment worthy of a millionaire footballer, captain of industry or investment fund,  two luxury apartments in the Chiado area of Lisbon were purchased in 2011 at record-breaking price in the depths of Portugal economic recession. 

The buyer was an employee of Portugal Telecom - it’s Chief Executive no less – who used part of €18 million made available to him from the Grupo Espírito Santo slush fund, administered by Ricardo Salgado and used to reward the cherished few for,  ‘services rendered.’


Revelations in today’s edition of Sábado reveal that in 2011, at the same time that €18 million was transferred from ES-Enterprises, the former head of PT invested millions in Lisbon’s luxury real estate market.

The former PT high flyer, Zeinal Bava, soon will be in the dock accused of five crimes: passive corruption, money laundering, document falsification and two of tax fraud.

On receiving €18.5 million from ES-Enterprises, Zeinal Bava arranged the purchase of the two apartments on Ivens Street, in Chiado, for €4 million.

While the market was at a low point, Bava paid a record price of €9,000 per square meter, untroubled by money worries after receipt of the €18.5 million and a top-up payment of €6.7 million, received in 2007.

In total, Bava received €25.2 million from ES-Enterprises which he later tried to explain away as money he was holding in the event that PT directors needed to buy shares in their own company in an (almost certainly illegal) share support operation.

Ricardo Salgado said under oath that the payments to Bava were in fact a 'performance bonus.'

It is clear that Bava’s 'performance bonus' was for agreeing, without the PT board's consent, to lend the Espírito Santo Group's property company, Rioforte, around €750 million of PT funds which have never been repaid.

The purchase of the swish 3rd and 4th floor apartments, with enviable views over the Tagus, was made by Zeinal Bava and his wife, Maria de Fátima Bava, for a total of €4 million, of which €1 million was loaned by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya.

The building in Ivens Street, numbers 1 to 13, belonged to Fundipar, a real estate investment fund managed by BCP.

One rare example of truthfulness was the confirmation in the purchase deeds that the properties were not to be the couple’s main residence as their home address is in Lisbon's Rua das Janelas Verdes, a house acquired in 2005. The apartments on Rua Ivens, have been leased to two families.

In January of this year, Expresso released a list of 106 names recorded in bank statements as recipients of transfers from Espírito Santo Enterprises, the offshore company created in the British Virgin Islands that has been used for years to pay bungs to favoured business people and politicians.

Top of the list of happy recipients is Zeina Bava (€18.5 million), followed by Amílcar Morais Pires (€4.9 million), Isabel Maria Carvalho de Almeida (€2.2 million), Virgílio Tarrago da Silveira (€1.7 million), João Filipe Carvalho Pereira (€1,1 million), Jorge Manuel P. Espírito Santo Silva (€748,000), Ricardo Abecassis Espírito Santo Silva (€747,000), Juan Villalonga Navarro (€703,000), António Soares (€700,000), António do Espírito Santo Silva Salgado (€686,000).

Further investigations later revealed transfers to José Manuel da Fonseca Antunes (€562,000), Fernando José Camacho Baptista da Costa Freire (€500,00), Pedro Fernandes Homem (€437,000), Bernardo Leite de Faria Espirito Santo (€400,000), Maria da Conceição Espírito Santo (€316,000), Manuel Pinho (€315,000 – later upped to €2 million (HERE), Jean-Luc Schneider (€310,000), and Antonio Pecado (€315,000) all of whom became are persons of great interest to the Tax Authority as well as the public prosecutor.

Portugal's reputation as a place in which not to do business has been strengthened by these and other revelations involving top businessmen and politicians, the centre of the web being Ricardo Salgado who now is indicted in four separate, but linked, cases of corruption, influence peddling and tax evasion.

On the positive side, assuming the accused receive fair trials and the guilty are punished accordingly, this clear-out of the corrupt cadre that has been operating in this country for their personal benefit for so long, should enable Portugal to embrace European integration with a cleaner sheet and demonstrate to younger generations that this no longer is how business is done. 




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+1 #8 nogin the nog 2018-04-30 01:46
There is a natural order of things and it is protected no matter what the costs. If anything ever comes of all of this, its because its bettor to loose the toe rather than loose the limb.. :-*
+3 #7 Denby 2018-04-29 20:56
Portugal is no different than any other country in Europe, where there are amazingly wealthy individuals who have money, at times when other's don't.
+2 #6 Jack Reacher 2018-04-28 23:40
No wonder there is such a massive brain drain from Portugal when so many politicians and business people are involved in corruption and theft. What hope is there for an honest days work...
+2 #5 dw 2018-04-28 23:36
Unfortunately the European Union is also a cesspool of corruption, so integration with it may be not help.
+2 #4 Maximillian 2018-04-28 18:30
Quoting TT:
Quoting Maximillian:
I keep wondering: where's all this money and what's done to take it away from them?

Spent, and precious little.
Not necessarily true. I know of people who've been in jail because of corruption and picked up on their luxurious life right after they got out (of course early because of a befriended judge). No one seemed to bother.
+2 #3 TT 2018-04-28 17:30
Quoting Maximillian:
I keep wondering: where's all this money and what's done to take it away from them?

Spent, and precious little.
+1 #2 Maximillian 2018-04-28 13:32
I keep wondering: where's all this money and what's done to take it away from them?
+1 #1 Charly 2018-04-28 13:28
That's an illusion Ed ....

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