Public Ministry to investigate collapse of Soares da Costa: “where has all the money gone?”

 In Companies, Construction, Liquidations, News

Portugal’s Public Ministry is to open an investigation into the bankruptcy of the construction company Soares da Costa after questions have arisen over where money from contracts in Angola has gone.

It follows a legal application filed at a court by a former employee requesting that the judge in the case should order an “audit” or, alternatively, declare the company ‘culpably insolvent’ for alleged “harm caused by the deceit and bad faith shown by the administration”.
“The judge in the case has decided to open a case into the company’s insolvency”. Soares da Costa failed with debts of €526 million. The Public Ministry will also have to decide if the insolvency was culpable or not.
However, so far “no facts susceptible to raise criminal responsibility” have been detected, but the Public Ministry will have to decide if the company was responsible for its insolvency.
Following the bankruptcy of Soares da Costa (which by then had changed its name to the Austral Africa Construction Company (Sociedade de Construções da África Austral) the legal application was filed with the applicant listing a series of “management acts” practised by the administration by which “illegalities were committed, mismanagement, and possible economic and financial crimes” with the question put: “where has all the money gone?”
Among the cases that are mentioned in the application, according to Negócios, is the company’s activities in Angola in that: “when it was in a consortium with Mota-Engil Angola and Suez International it received its part share for the advance payment for the construction work on a water treatment station”.
“The insolvent company, given the insolvency applications presented by the creditor workers, has argued in its defence that the funds existed in Angola, but that there was an immense difficulty in transferring them to Portugal”.
The complainant in the investigation application asks what has changed? “Did it (the company) lie to the court? Were these funds transferred to the local company (in Angola) which had been up, and to which staff and very probably, patrimony was transferred?”