Moody’s in Altice alert

 In Companies, Justice, News

The ratings agency Moody’s has warned that the current investigations into Altice Portugal over money laundering, fraud and corruption has revealed “deficiencies in internal control”.

It says the revolving door scandal that is currently being investigated by the Portuguese criminal investigation department DCIAP, and has already resulted in a number of senior directors being suspended pending the outcome of investigations, is creating a cloud of uncertainty for investors at a time when the company is facing bond maturity payouts of €770 million in 2025.
This means that the Portugal branch of the company is casting doubts as to whether Altice International will be able to pay the bonds in 2025. Moody’s is also considering downgrading the company’s creditworthiness.
“On July 19, 2023, Altice International S.a.r.l (which has a B3 rating with a stable outlook) was the object of searches by the Portuguese authorities as part of an investigation underway by the Public Ministry”, sates a note to investors adding that the allegations involve private corruption, tax fraud (€600 million) and money laundering by people linked to the Altice group.
The co-founder and ex-COO of Altice Portugal, Armando Pereira, was held for questioning by criminal investigators in Portugal.
Altice says it is cooperating with the Portuguese authorities in the Public Ministry investigation and announced in a communiqué that it will open an internal investigation in Portugal over Operation Picoas which already has four legal suspects.
The co-CEO of Altice Portugal, Alexandre Fonseca has been temporarily suspended while investigations continue. He has not been charged. In the meantime, the company will continue to be run by co-CEO Ana Figueiredo.