Curious why Portugal's second largest bank is in dire straits on the verge of default and as we reported yesterday, is threatening to impact - adversely - Portugal economy should the bankruptcy chain that has already claimed two of its HoldCos continue further? Then perhaps ask the following man: Richard Salgado, who until last month was CEO of Banco Espirito Santo and as of moments ago has been detained in a money laundering investigation.
The WSJ reports that the investigation, called "Monte Branco" was launched by the country's prosecutor's office in 2011 and looked into the financial network between Swiss wealth managers and Portuguese customers. It is odd that the prosecution only led to a "detention" days after the bank imploded terminally, and is now on artificial life support courtesy of liquidity injections by Baupost, DE Shaw and Goldman.
"The prosecutor's office has been conducting various investigations under 'Monte Branco,' which resulted in the detention of Ricardo Salgado Thursday," the office said.
Mr. Salgado left Banco Espírito Santo earlier this month amid troubles at its holding company, Luxembourg-based Espírito Santo International SA, which was found to be in serious financial condition after an audit ordered by the country's central bank in May. The audit also found irregularities at its accounts. Espírito Santo International filed for creditor protection last week. Its main unit, Rioforte Investments SA, filed for protection this week.
Mr. Salgado, a member of the family Espírito Santo that controlled Espírito Santo International, sat on the board of directors of the Luxembourg company until March.
The prosecutor's office disclosed Friday that it has opened investigations around Espírito Santo International and its entities. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office told The Wall Street Journal then that it has been following the case closely and couldn't comment further under terms of the law.
We eagerly look forward to finding out if the 0.01% in Portugal is just as exempt from being subject to the law, and rules and regulations as their peers in the United States and in all other insolvent, crony capitalist nations.