Banker jailed for 10 years

 In Banks, Justice, News

A Portuguese judge has jailed a banker to 10 years in prison for falsifying IT data in order to cover up the true extent of the financial instability of now defunct private bank BPP.

The judge called the bank’s CEO João Rendeiro “arrogant and a personality “dominated by greed and a lust for wealth”.
It was sorry end of a long, drawn out case into the collapse of the bank which was founded by João in 1996 and collapsed in 2010.
A case which was brought over charges of tax evasion, abuse of confidence and money laundering and falsifying IT information pertaining to the bank and its financial soundness.
João Rendeiro, Salvador Fezes Vital, António Guichard Alves and Fernando Lima, former BPP bank directors were all handed sentences that ranged from six to 10 years in prison.
A lawyer from law office Telles, at the time a partner at PLMJ, João Magalhães Ramalho who had also been charged for money laundering was acquitted.
The case is over the appropriation of over €31 million of BPP money with the collective of judges proving that Rendeiro appropriated €13,613,258, Salvador Fezes Vital €7,770,602, Paulo Guichard €7,703,591 and Fernando Lima €2,193,167.
The money was fuelled to them in the disguise of bonuses and personal expenses without the knowledge of BPP shareholders with the money being deposited in offshores.
According to the judge, the defendants are sentenced “in an exemplary and expressive way because the facts substantiated the accusations that were so serious and the community (meaning the Portuguese public) would not understand it otherwise (meaning if they had been let off the hook).
On 24 July 2009, Paulo Guichard and Salvador Fezas Vital, two former board committee members of BPP were suspended by Banco de Portugal, and were charged along with João Rendeiro in the BPP case for falsifying accounts, tax crimes and money laundering.
On 15 April 2010, the Banco de Portugal, Portugal’s central bank “after understanding it was impossible to recapitalise the bank after recovery and salvage efforts on the institution,” ordered the liquidation of Banco Privado Português.
On 11 October 2010, Portugal’s criminal investigation police Polícia Judiciária (PJ) conducted searches at the homes of former officials of the BPP as part of the investigation into suspected money laundering and fraud.
On 11 February 2013, João Rendeiro, Fezas Vital and Paul Guichard, former members of the board committee were charged by the Public Ministry with fraud, over the matter of a Collective investment scheme that saw hundreds of clients lose their money at an estimated total of €41 million.
In May 2015, assets from João Rendeiro were seized to pay a €4.7 million fine from the Bank of Portugal.
However, one anonymous businessman who personally knows Rendeiro was the not the first to say that while the banker was imprudent in his actions to cover up the problems the bank had, was the token scapegoat to show to the Portuguese public that justice actually worked in Portugal after a former prime minister accused of similar and equally serious crimes for different reasons was recently largely acquitted by a judge.
The result of the case caused outrage and indignation from the press, TV commentators and the general public nationwide.
The anonymous commentator told Essential Business that Rendeiro had paid the price because he was not one of the big boys from the establishment banking families, from among the Portuguese financial and banking “royalty” linked to the political class. Instead he had come from humble origins, dared to fly high and when things went wrong was the token fall guy.