EDP bosses suspended from posts

 In Companies, News

A Portuguese criminal court judge has decided to suspend the two CEOs of electricity giant EDP from their posts with immediate effect.

Portugal’s ‘super judge’ Carlos Alexandre, who has been on a mission to clamp down on elite corruption for the past decade, saw his decision upheld this week against EDP CEO António Mexia and EDP Renováveis CEO João Manso Neto.
In the interim, the engineer and mergers and acquisitions specialist Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, currently the company’s CFO, will fulfil the functions of CEO. Replacing João Manso Neto at the helm of EDP Renováveis is Rui Teixeira, CFO of the company.
With the new appointments ending uncertainty, EDP shares gained 4% in value after the announcement.
Apart from bail measures such as surrender of passports, the two directors are prohibited from contacting other legal suspects or ‘arguidos’ as they are known in Portugal, in the case.
The suspension of Mexia and Manso Neto has taken immediate effect since even though the conditions for bail may be subject to appeal, they may not be suspended in the meantime until an appeal confirms or overturns the court’s decision.
The legal indictment document issued by Judge Carlos Alexandre is just four pages long and contains all of the bail measures that the Portuguese Public Ministry requires.
Mexia and Manso will have to pay bail of €1 million, while a third suspect will have to fork out €500,000.
The document states that António Mexia will be banned from exercising any management or administrative role in EDP Group companies or companies controlled by EDP, either in Portugal or overseas, and are forbidden to travel abroad, enter any EDP company buildings, or contact any of the legal suspects such as Manso Neto, João Conceição, Ricardo Salgado or Rui Cartaxo.
António Mexia’s defence team argue that the bail measures from the Public Ministry are “illegal” pointing out that the request for stricter bail conditions relate to facts that were previously already known since they have been made public in 2018, and there have been no additional proofs to back up a review of the bail measures.
The team of lawyers led by João Madeiros of law firm VdA also state that the removal of the pair from their executive posts in EDP is also illegal since the company is 100% privately owned and therefore it is for the shareholders not the State to decide.
The defence team acting for Mexia and Manso Neto had tried, unsuccessfully, to have Judge Carlos Alexandre removed from the case for being “partial,” an attempt which was overruled by the Court of Appeal.
The case and its charges relate to excessive charges at EDP which had been under investigation for eight years at Portugal’s criminal investigation department DCIAP and has five legal suspects: António Mexia, João Manso Neto, ex-minister Manuel Pinho, national electric system distribution management company REN CEO João Faria Conceição, and Pedro Furtado, also REN.
The Public Ministry has charged the defendants António Mexia and Manso Neto of four counts of active corruption and one crime of engaging in an illicit economic business interest.
The investigation has been investigating corruption and economic business participation in procedures regarding the introduction of Costs for Maintaining Contractual Equilibrium (CMEC) in the national electricity industry, more specifically over decisions taken regarding the extension of EDP dams concessions and compensation contracts.