Vítor Constâncio: Increased exposure of BES to Angola “should have been stopped” – Money

Vítor Constâncio says that it was only after 2010, when he was no longer governor of Banco de Portugal (but Carlos Costa), that Banco Espírito Santo (BES)’s exposure to BES Angola (BESA) increased. And he considers that this risk “should have been stopped” by the regulator.

Constancio CPI Novo Banco

Constancio CPI Novo Banco

The former governor of Banco de Portugal is being heard in Parliament, this Friday, June 11, as part of the parliamentary inquiry committee of the Novo Banco.

Before 2010, there was already an increase in BES’ exposure to BESA. However, Vítor Constâncio says that this did not arouse concern at Banco de Portugal, as the financial institution invested mainly in Angolan public debt.

“Only later, and especially from 2010, did the group’s exposure to BESA jump,” said Vítor Constâncio. That is, when he was no longer governor of Banco de Portugal, but Carlos Costa.

The problem, he said, was the “explosion of BESA’s credit portfolio”, which grew from 3.7 billion in 2011 to 6.1 billion in 2013.

Although this issue only came up after he left Banco de Portugal, he said he regretted not having been informed while he was governor. “My knowledge of the situation in Angola leads me to say that I regret that I had not been called to attention by the growth of BES’ exposure to BESA”, he referred.

As for BES’ exposure to non-financial companies in the Espírito Santo Group, he says he has never been alerted to problems in this field. And he stressed that despite being governor, he did not know all the supervisory decisions, as there was a lieutenant governor who had this responsibility.

Even so, he assured, “I was not oblivious to the problems of supervision, although I had neither the daily responsibility nor the regular information that the lieutenant governor had.” This afternoon, deputies will also hear from Ricardo Mourinho Félix, former assistant secretary of state and finance.

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