Beatriz Freitas appointed BPF interim chair

 In Banks, Economy, News

The CEO of the Portuguese Government’s investment bank Banco Português de Fomento (BPF), Beatriz Freitas, is to stand in as the bank’s chair until a permanent candidate can be selected.

The man who was supposed to take up the post, Vítor Fernandes, will not fill the position for the time being pending the outcome of an investigation by the Portuguese criminal investigation department into his possible involvement in Operation Red Card.
Operation Red Card involves the former president of Benfica Football Club, Luís Filipe Vieira, who had led the club since 2005.
On July 7, Vieira was arrested together with his son Tiago Vieira, businessman Bruno Macedo and José António Dos Santos, an entrepreneur nicknamed the “king of chickens”, who had a 13% shareholding in the club.
The ex-president of Benfica is charged with having cooked up financial schemes to serve his own interests, according to the Portuguese public prosecutor’s office, which suspects him of breach of trust, falsification, aggravated fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.
Vítor Fernandes, who at the time worked for Novo Banco, may have helped Vieira reduce his debt liability with the bank which resulted in the repackaging and repurchase of the debt contracted by Imosteps, a company belonging to Vieira. The debt may subsequently have been sold for a sixth of its value to the detriment of the bank.
However, Novo Banco’s President António Ramalho in a letter sent to a parliamentary inquiry into the fall of Novo Banco and toxic loans inherited by Novo Banco, said the decision over the purchase of the Imosteps loan was not taken by the former Novo Banco director but rather a team of commercial colleagues.
And although Vítor Fernandes was also part of this group, the commercial department is responsible for following and monitoring the relationship and operations involving each client but does not take decisions regarding credit impairments or sale operations, or even the granting or rescheduling of loans.
The five-person non-executive team at Banco Português de Fomento has been working since the start of this week, all that is except the chairman selected by the Ministry of the Economy, Vítor Fernandes, who will now have to await the outcome of the investigation before he can be given the green light by the Bank of Portugal at a future date.
The Minister of the Economy, Siza Vieira has therefore opted to not advance with Vítor Fernandes’ appointment as chairman until “all questions have been completely clarified.