Home News Centeno takes credit for devastating EY audit into Caixa Geral de Depósitos

Centeno takes credit for devastating EY audit into Caixa Geral de Depósitos

Published on 24/01/2019

Portugal’s Minister of Finance said on Thursday that the Government has been following the situation at Caixa Geral de Depósitos, stating to parliament that it is totally false to say otherwise.

“It was not just today that this Government gave instructions to Caixa’s directors to carry out a special audit of the bank’s administration between 2000 and 2015. We have done what no other government had done,” Centeno said, during an urgent parliamentary debate requested by the CDS.

The Minister of Finance was referring to the EY report which was leaked this week, showing the bank’s directors were self-serving, greedy and failed to follow even basic banking rules.

Centeno said the Government instructed Caixa Geral’s current management to send the damning report to the Attorney General’s Office and to help the public prosecution service.

Centeno stressed that the government inherited a bank that was at risk of collapse, “and today Caixa is robust and makes a profit.” He failed to refer to the billions of taxpayers’ funds that had gone in to shoring up the publicly owned institution.

The EY audit of Caixa Geral de Depósitos revealed several gaping holes in internal management and in the group’s remuneration policy during the period between 2000 and 2015. The bank was lending money to favoured people and projects even when internal controls strongly advised against it.

The leaking of this audit by former Left Bloc MP, Joana Amaral Dias on CMTV, provoked outrage from MPs when they read that the bank’s directors paid themselves handsome bonuses even when the bank was making record losses.

The Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, Teresa Leal Coelho, yesterday shocked the media by stating that the EY audit that had been leaked, “is preliminary” and that the final report would bear little relationship to the original.

The European Commission has declined to comment on EY audit, preferring to take the easy road by highlighting the “significant progress” in recent years in the Portuguese banking system.