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Victims of Banif: and when does the State own it | Opinion

BES victims (rightly) are on national news – because they have been injured, deceived and victims of crime. And the state has (rightly) taken charge of its complaints and losses, even announcing that legal proceedings are underway, as victims of crimes, against alleged criminal Ricardo Salgado. But what to do when the State owns the bank that is the source of the injured parties? What to do when Ricardo Salgado of the victims of Banif is the Portuguese state?

It is advisable to recall, in a very succinct way, the process which results in the wounded of Banif.

Banif was a bank based in Funchal with a great penetration, besides Madeira, in the Azores (remember that it had acquired Banco Comercial dos Açores, the largest banking institution in the archipelago), on the mainland and in the immigrant communities of South Africa, Venezuela and the east coast of the United States. In terms of deposits and investments, it is small savers who prevail, including several thousand emigrants.

At some point, for reasons related to compliance with mandatory financial ratios in the banking sector, it was necessary to proceed with the so-called capitalization of the Bank (a process, obviously, previously authorized by Banco de Portugal and others institutions involved in these processes). As, in a first phase, this capitalization went through recourse to State aid, the State remained in the majority (well above 90%) of the capital of Banif – that is to say that he effectively became the owner of Banif. This fact, and the will of the State to reduce or abandon its strong presence in the bank’s capital, have led this capitalization campaign not only to continue but to be encouraged, necessarily duly authorized by the official institutions of the bank. control.

And how has the capital been raised in practice? Addressing small savers, depositors of lifelong term savings accounts, farmers in Madeira and the Azores, local traders, gullible migrants from a bank from their country and region, arguing some very simple and convincing thing: the deposits and use them to buy subordinated bonds, the interests are always a little better and the operation is very safe, “as safe as if it were CGD”, just look “as l ‘State is the same owner’.

(All this is proven and documented in the exhaustive work carried out by the Committee of experts created for this purpose within the framework of the Bar).

The actions of many of Banif’s commercial agents during this period are an unfortunate list of inequities, deceptive and cunning processes, cynicism and inhumanity (see the report of the Expert Committee referred to, which is public and without erasure ).

There was everything: commercial agents who went up to the pastures of the Azores to convince and sign purchases of subordinated bonds in the middle of the cows, telephone sales based on trust in the bank (for example, by saying ‘c’ is therefore decided, stop one of these days to sign … ”), housewives sensitized to convince their husbands, emigrants deceived at their club tables or in regular meeting cafes by insistent sales agents and aggressive.

What is the profile of these new subscribers of Banif subordinated bonds? A study carried out on the basis of those enrolled in the ALBOA, the Banif Lesbian Association, revealed: very high financial illiteracy, low education (overwhelming majority only with the 4th year), low financial resources (there are proven cases survival allowance) and, today, a high age (at least over 60 years).

It was this universe of people who were “deceived” and “plundered” by a Banif State knowing the organs of control of the State!

In Banif, there is (apparently …) no falsification of accounts. There was no (formally) criminal association in Banif. But there has been – to say the least – abuse of the name of the State to make shameful actions credible! And there was a lack of a state to – at least also – defend its citizens and the honor of its name.

Let the state repair the wrong done. But in time to redo (partially, of course) the damage done. Because the state may not be in a hurry, but Banif’s victims are!

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Prime Minister António Costa had the laudable attitude of wanting to understand the situation and express the despair of the victims of Banif when, during a famous demonstration in Funchal, pledging to solve the problem, he said loudly and loud to those present. and to the press: “These people have been deceived.”

Dupe by whom? For the state, of course.

Let the state repair the wrong done. But in time to redo (partially, of course) the damage done. Because the state may not be in a hurry, but Banif’s victims are!

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