Left Bloc’s deepening concern over renewal of Miguel Frasquilho as TAP Chairman
The Left Bloc formally has asked the Government if it is aware of the allegations that TAP Chairman, Miguel Frasquilho, has been in receipt of suspicious payments arranged by Grupo Espírito Santo through the undeclared offshore company, ES Enterprises. (HERE)
Frasquilho wants to have his Chairmanship of TAP renewed at the end of the month, so the MPs want to know if the government is happy that his past financial probity is beyond reproach.
The Left Bloc says it is worried about Miguel Frasquilho’s intention to be reappointed as the chairman of TAP’s board of directors, given the suspicions that he allegedly received money through the Grupo Espírito Santo slush fund.
The Left Bloc MPs questioned the Ministry of Planning and Infrastructures about whether its minister was OK about the ratification of Frasquilho’s appointment at the next TAP general meeting, scheduled for January 31st.
“Given the suspicions of the Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the reasons for the transfers to offshore accounts held by ES Enterprises and the presence of Miguel Frasquilho as one of the beneficiaries listed on the bank account statements, we are concerned about the current intention to approve the renewal of Miguel Frasquilho as chairman of the board of directors of TAP,” said Left Bloc MP, Mariana Mortágua.
In the question addressed to Pedro Marques’s Ministry, she referred to news reports that Miguel Frasquilho is, “allegedly linked to irregular payments related to Espírito Santo Group,” and asks the Government if it is aware of these suspicions.
The MP asked Pedro Marques if he considers that “the conditions are fulfilled that guarantee the suitability of the current chairman of the board of directors of TAP, who intends to continue in the role.”
Last year, Miguel Frasquilho, despite being a Social Democrat, was chosen by the socialist government as Chairman of TAP. Under the current agreement with TAP partner, Atlantic Gateway, the State is responsible for nominating six of the dozen members of the board, including the Chairman.
Miguel Frasquilho, his parents and brother received total payment close to €98,000 from Espírito Santo Enterprises between July 25, 2006 and October 5, 2011.
The amounts correspond to the payment of an annual premium to Frasquilho, a former director of the Research Department of the Espírito Santo Group.
The money was transferred by Espírito Santo Enterprises, the famous BVI “slush fund” company of the Espírito Santo Group, to Frasquilho and family mambers.
BES cheques were issued to Frasquilho’s brother, for a total of close to €40,000, a further cheque to Miguel Frasquilho of €4,000 on July 25, 2008 and six additional bank transfers.
Miguel Frasquilho has confirmed the cheques and transfers, but denied any irregularities and guaranteed that all his income is included in his annual tax return, something the tax office will be checking.
The current TAP chairman said that the amounts paid to his parents and his brother were to settle debts.
Dr. Miguel Reis Antunes Frasquilho is an economist and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party, Frasquilho served in the Portuguese Parliament for 13 years, where he was Vice-President of the PSD Parliamentary Group. He also served as Secretary of State of the Treasury and Finances from 2002 to 2003, in José Manuel Barroso’s short-lived government prior to Barroso becoming president of the EU Commission.
Frasquilho currently serves as the President and CEO of AICEP Portugal Global, the Portuguese Government’s Trade & Investment Agency. In March 2017, Frasquilho was selected by the government to be the Chairman of the Board of TAP.