The president of the Banif Commission of Inquiry in Madeira is appalled that the governor of the Bank of Portugal, Carlos Costa, refused to turn up and give his version of a series of events that ended up costing customers €263 million.
“I express absolute repudiation for the attitude shown by those who refused to come here to give their testimony, with special emphasis on the governor of the Bank of Portugal, who, being an official of the State – and Madeira being part of the same State – refused to appear,” said commission president, Carlos Rodrigues.
The final report of the Banif Commission of Inquiry comes after nearly two years of hearings, where several parties were heard and where it was pointed out that Madeira’s regional government was left in the dark while Lisbon cooked up a deal in 2015 to sell the bank to Santander – for just €150 million.
As for Carlos ‘Mr Magoo’ Costa at the Bank of Portugal, “More serious than to have refused to attend was to have had the boldness and the nerve to question the legitimacy of parliament in setting up the committee of inquiry,” said Rodrigues, adding that this was an insult that he will never accept, “especially from an official of the State.”
The Banif Inquiry committee was set up in February 2016 by the Socialist Party government shortly after the bank collapsed. Part of its remit was to look at Banif’s management and to assess the losses that Madeira’s government was left exposed to.
The work was completed in November 2017, and representatives of Santander and the Bank of Portugal, the two entities responsible for the resolution that culminated in Banif’s sale, refused to appear before the committee of inquiry.
Rodrigues pointed out the “tragic situation” of many of the Banif victims, “In the midst of all this talk, they have lost their savings, they have lost their dreams, in some cases they have lost their means of financial survival.”
Aware of the progress being made to come to an agreement with those BES customers left high and dry after that bank went bust, Rodrigues said that Banif depositors deserved at least the same terms of settlement as those found for BES depositors.
The indecent haste with which Banif was sold to Santander, for which the vehicle company Oitante was created, resuted in a considerable number of customers who lost their money, some €263 million of it.