Special session will be held concerning offshores

  • ECO News
  • 24 February 2017

"Significant discrepancies" were detected in transfers offshore of almost 10 billion euros. Deputies will hold a special session to probe secretary of state on the tax blunder.

On the upcoming Wednesday, members of Portugal’s parliament are going to probe the Socialist government’s secretary of state for fiscal affairs and his Social Democratic Party (PSD) predecessor on reports that billions of euros were sent offshore between 2011 and 2014 without scrutiny by the tax office.

Parliament’s committee on budget and finance will hold a special session to hear their testimony, after both the governing party and opposition lodged requests. Paulo Núncio, who was secretary of state until late 2015, is to be heard at 10 a.m. and the incumbent, Fernando Rocha Andrade, at noon.

Last Tuesday, the Portuguese newspaper Público reported that transfers made between 2011 and 2014 from accounts in Portugal to offshore financial centres, totalling almost 10 billion euros, were not subject to scrutiny on the part of the tax office, even though the Portuguese banks involved had informed the authorities as required by law.

The subject came up in the fortnightly debate with the prime minister António Costa stating that “significant discrepancies” had been detected in transfers offshore, and that the government had taken steps and adopted new rules to monitor and prevent such situations, suggesting that the previous coalition government might have some “political responsibility” for the failure to scrutinise the transfers. Those comments have been described by the PSD’s leader in parliament, Luís Montenegro, as a “vile and ignoble insinuation”.

The governing Socialist Party subsequently announced that it had requested an urgent committee hearing to question Rocha Andrade, while the Communist Party, Left Block and PSD all said that they wanted to question the secretary of state and his predecessor.