Banker tried to bribe cousin to keep stumm
The banker and former part-owner of the Banco Espírito Santo empire, José Maria Ricciardi says he is not surprised by the guilty verdict of former BES boss Ricardo Salgado for three crimes of abuse of trust after having allegedly appropriated over €10 million of BES funds.
And he says he believes now that Salgado, who faces various crimes in court, may have bribed him to buy his silence into what was going on at the bank which collapsed in 2014 leaving thousands of small investors robbed of their life savings.
In an interview with Observador on Sunday (October 1) Ricardo Salgado’s cousin revealed that from 2013 he stared to have suspicions over certain situations he thought were “strange”.
Nevertheless, at the time he says never dreamt of the scale of the illegalities committed. “I had realised there were sone things going on in 2013 and 2014, but nothing like this”, he says in the interview.
“That he (Salgado) would rob his own family, I never thought possible. But as time rolled on, I no longer had any doubt that this is what had happened”.
The court’s decision was over a case that harks back to the most critical period of BES that led to its winding up in 2014. At that time, Ricardo Salgado seems to have tried to bribe Ricciardi to obtain his silence.
“I asked myself what it was that he wanted, and was rather surprised because my reply was that I wanted the bank to raise more capital from the investment bank (ES Investimentos).
Ricciardi now recognises that Salgado’s question was probably about what Ricciardi’s price would be on a personal level to keep quiet, to bribe him and buy his silence on what he (Ricciardi) knew about BES and GES.
Ricardo Salgado, who is a legal defendant in several cases, visited the Institute of Legal Medicine in Coimbra last week to undergo various neurological tests to determine if, as his defence council alleges, he is suffering from Alzheimer’s and thus to avoid further court cases, a condition that up until now has never been accepted by judges.
Ricardo Salgado was to begin facing court quizzing from Tuesday into his role in Operation Marques and the case involving Portugal’s power giant EDP. Operation Marques is a landmark case in Portuguese justice in which former prime minister José Sócrates was charged with 31 crimes of corruption, tax fraud, document falsification and money laundering.
The Public Ministry accusation – drawn up by seven prosecutors and composed of 11 volumes (5,036 pages), 14,084 segments of fact and 189 crimes — sustained that José Sócrates “received around €34 million between 2006 and 2015 (while he was prime minister) in return for favouring the interests of former banker Ricardo Salgado at GES and at PT (Portugal Telecom) as well as guaranteeing the concession of finance by State Bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos to the Vale do Lobo development in the Algarve, and for favouring business deals, namely outside the country, of Group Lena”.