21 February 2022

The leak of information about Credit Suisse deposits is covered in a number of media outlets. It is claimed PM Costa is using his new position as leader of a parliamentary majority to groom a successor and to find a PS candidate for the 2026 presidential election. President Rebelo de Sousa spoke about the raising of Covid restrictions, while President Putin’s agreement to engage in high-level discussions with Ukrainian leaders is also covered.

DN claims PM Costa is intent on using the next legislature to prepare the PS presidential nominee for 2026 and promote a “centrist” alternative to Housing Minister Pedro Nuno Santos, who is on the left of the party, as his successor as PS General Secretary. The former mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, who is tipped to be the next Finance Minister, is being touted as someone who has a real chance of beating Santos.

Expresso and CNN PT cover President Rebelo de Sousa admitting it was difficult for him to enact the Covid restrictions to deal with the many waves of Covid, and that he was happy to be able to remove many of them ahead of schedule last Friday “because the people need it” to be able to make the most of the good weather and to “get out on the esplanades and socialise more”. 

CNN PT cites Gustavo Tato Borges, President of the Association of Public Health Physicians, urging parents not to rush into condemning the Government’s decision to maintain the mask mandate in schools while the requirement has been removed in discos and bars, arguing “the fact that something is not correctly applied in one place does not mean that we can demand that it also ceases to be correctly applied in others”

RTP, Expresso and Público pick up a Lusa report citing Popular Party (CDS) MEP Nuno Melo’s decision to stand as a candidate for the leadership of the party at the congress in early April. His plan is to re-establish the CDS, which lost all its parliamentary seats at the recent election, as a “useful party” that “knows how to speak to the new generations” and is proposing to create a group to monitor the Recovery and Resilience Programme as a way for the party to return to parliament. 

Expresso, Público and Jornal de Notícias report an investigation by 160 journalists in an investigative journalism consortium of 48 newspapers in 39 countries, has revealed a leak from Switzerland’s second-largest bank, Credit Suisse, which until last month was headed by the Portuguese banker António Horta-Osório. The leaked information contains allegations that for decades the bank, which has 30,000 customers and holds €100 billion in deposits, has hidden the fortunes of dozens of “unsavoury clients” around the world, including politicians, dictators and drug traffickers, many of whom were involved in cases of torture, drug trafficking, corruption, money laundering schemes and other crimes. The whistleblower responsible for the leak is quoted in Expresso as saying: “I believe Swiss banking secrecy laws are immoral. The pretext of protecting financial privacy is just a fig leaf covering the shameful role of Swiss banks as collaborators with tax evaders. This situation enables corruption and starves developing countries of much-needed tax revenue”.

Dinheiro Vivo reports data from the National Statistics Institute showing employment has recovered from the shock caused by the pandemic with 65,402 more people in work than in 2019, an increase of 1.6%.

Negócios notes that the Economic and Food Safety Authority wants to change the regulation on money laundering prevention to clarify the goods whose sale is subject to communication and identification of buyers. Sales of luxury goods over €3,000 in cash or €10,000 in other means of payment, will now be obliged to identify customers and report suspicious situations.

Lusa mentions the meeting in Doha of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum ahead of tomorrow’s summit, at which they will discuss ways to increase production in the face of the Ukrainian crisis.

Expresso reports on a €930 million Recovery and Resilience Plan fund that is available to help support projects related to green hydrogen and other renewable gases, including green methanol, that can help decarbonise the economy.

Noting how concerns about Europe’s dependence on Russian energy have long been present in the discourse of European leaders and over fears the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will continue to be an element of pressure on energy prices, Público reports on a document published by the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration that notes “Europe is Russia’s main market for its oil and gas exports and, therefore, Europe is its main source of revenue,” with the newspaper adding that by cutting off the fuel supply to its largest market, Russia will be sacrificing a substantial proportion of its revenues.

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