Berardo arrested for fraud committed against Caixa Geral de Depósitos

  • ECO News
  • 29 June 2021

Joe Berardo and the lawyer André Luiz Gomes were arrested. Polícia Judiciária (PJ) executed a mega operation in Lisbon, Funchal and Sesimbra on suspicion of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

Joe Berardo, as well as his lawyer André Luiz Gomes, were arrested on suspicion of fraud against Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), following a mega-operation of the National Anti-Corruption Unit. In a statement, DCIAP said it had “issued two arrest warrants” but did not identify names, claiming “legal confidentiality”.

The Polícia judiciária (PJ) issued a statement reporting on a mega operation made by the National Anti-Corruption Unit in Lisbon, Funchal and Sesimbra, in which 51 searches were carried out. At stake is the “suspicion of the practice of crimes of harmful administration, qualified fraud, tax fraud and money laundering.”

At stake was the “suspicion of the practice of crimes of harmful administration, qualified fraud, tax fraud and money laundering,” allegedly perpetrated by Joe Berardo and his lawyer.

“The PJ operation focused mainly on an economic group that, between 2006 and 2009, contracted four financing operations with CGD, worth around €439 million. This economic group has defaulted on the contracts and used debt renegotiation and restructuring mechanisms to avoid repaying it,” the authorities said.

The statement also mentioned that “this economic group caused a loss of almost €1 billion to CGD, Novo Banco and BCP, having identified acts that are punishable by criminal liability and dissipation of wealth. The investigation “began in 2016” and “identified internal procedures in processes of granting and restructuring, monitoring and recovery of credit contrary to good banking practices.”

The mega operation launched on Tuesday involved 180 professionals, including 138 from the PJ, 26 from the Tax Authority, nine from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and seven criminal investigation judges.

(Article updated at 12 a.m.)