Ex—finance minister jumps to defend Carlos Costa

 In Bank of Portugal, Banks, News

The former Portuguese Minister of Finance, Fernando Teixeira dos Santos has defended ex-Governor of the Bank of Portugal, Carlos Costa over details in an explosive memoir about his 10 years running the country’s central bank.

Teixeira dos Santos said he believed that Carlos Costa, the subject of ‘The Governor’ was “very courageous” to confront someone as powerful as BES banker Ricardo Salgado and said that Costa was not guilty of a failure of supervision.
In an interview with Diário de Notícias and TSF, the former Finance Minister during the José Sócrates government said that in the case of bank BES – which collapsed in 2014 leaving a trail of toxic debts worth billions – it was not so much a question of a lack of supervision, since entities like the Bank of Portugal are not some kind of ‘Big Brother’ because information can be falsified or hidden.
“I think that in essence the Bank of Portugal did an important job to stabilise the Portuguese financial system and sort out problems in financial institutions, particularly in the case of BES, which posed a systemic risk”, he said.
“Based on existing public information that we have, in the case of BES it has twists and turns, essentially linked to the police, concealing information and even the falsifying of information, at least according to the allegation that were made”, he said.
But the current Governor of the Bank of Portugal, Mário Centeno, who is understood to have had a difficult relationship with Carlos Costa criticised the book saying it was the “old habit to rewrite history using censored material”.
“I like to think that we’re thinking about the future. The interest premiums that we paid and then no longer had to pay, the public and private debt, which just grew and grew, have fallen”, said Mário Centeno at the conference the ‘Banking System of the Future’ organised by Jornal de Negócios in which he was referring to the way he and his predecessors at the central bank and the Ministry of Finance had tackled the sovereign debt crisis to bring interest on Portuguese bonds down from a 7% high in 2011.