TAP statements to regulator about ex-director recommended by lawyers

  • Lusa
  • 18 January 2023

The communications sent to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission, CMVM, about the compensation of Alexandra Reis were recommended by lawyers, says TAP's CEO.

The chief executive of TAP said on Wednesday that the communications sent to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission, CMVM, about the compensation of Alexandra Reis were recommended by lawyers, and assured that there are documents and “written evidence” about the entire case.

“All the communication we made and all the discussion was completely recommended by lawyers. I am a CEO, I am not a lawyer, I am running a very complex organisation, that is why I hire lawyers. Everything we did was recommended by lawyers, including the communication that was published,” said Christine Ourmières-Widener.

The TAP CEO was speaking at the parliamentary commission of economy, public works, planning and housing at a hearing requested by the right-wing Chega Party, to provide clarification on the €500,000 compensation to former director Alexandra Reis, who was also NAV (the air traffic control company) chairman and secretary of state for the treasury.

At this hearing, TAP’s chief executive assured, after being questioned by PSD (Social Democrat) MP Paulo Moniz, that, regarding the compensation of the former secretary of state for the treasury, the airline “recruited external legal advisors” who managed the case in “direct contact” with Alexandra Reis’ legal team.

“We followed the recommendations, step by step, and we did nothing different from the recommendations, because we hired legal advice to make sure that what we are doing is legal,” she stressed.

Christine Ourmières-Widener revealed that in the process involving Alexandra Reis, “the TAP legal department was only involved when the negotiation” of the compensation was concluded, and had “the responsibility of sending the CMVM the text that was written” by external legal advisors.

The chief executive of TAP alluded to the ongoing investigation by the General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF) stressing that, if there were any “results of that investigation”, TAP would “act in full compliance” with those results.

Asked afterwards by socialist MP Carlos Pereira whether TAP usually uses external legal services in this type of case, the company’s chief executive replied that the case of Alexandra Reis was an “exceptional situation”.

“But in terms of good practice, it is recommended to work with external lawyers when managing cases like this, which has to be very confidential, not only to respect the person involved, but also to guarantee the confidentiality of the discussion, which is very sensitive,” she said.

The airline official also confirmed that the process of compensating Alexandra Reis was handled, on TAP’s side, by the law firm SRS Legal.

“We worked on this case in good faith, with lawyers with a good reputation in Portugal, who already worked with the company,” she said.

At this hearing, Christine Ourmières-Widener also guaranteed that, in the Alexandra Reis compensation process, “she did nothing without leaving it in writing”.

“Therefore, there is written evidence of the process, of the different steps of the discussion and also of the approval of the final agreement,” she said.

The TAP CEO pointed out in particular that she received written confirmation of the agreement with Alexandra Reis, which was sent to her by the then secretary of state for infrastructure Hugo Santos Mendes.

In a written statement sent to Lusa in December, Alexandra Reis said that the agreement to cease functions “as a director of the companies in the TAP universe” and the revocation of her “employment contract with TAP S.A., both requested by TAP, as well as its public communication, was agreed between the legal teams of both parties, mandated to ensure the adoption of best practices and strict compliance with all legal precepts”.

This version contradicts the information sent by TAP to CMVM in February that Alexandra Reis had resigned from her position.

In a new TAP statement sent to CMVM on 28 December, the airline said that the resignation by Alexandra Reis “occurred following a negotiation process initiated by TAP to agree the termination of all existing contractual ties between Alexandra Reis and TAP”.