Luís Rodrigues is the new president of TAP

There have been five layoffs: one ministertwo state secretariesone executive chairman and a chairman of the board of directors. Before Conclusions of the Inspectorate-General of Finance report (IGF), the deputies wanted to listen to the parties interested in TAP. But, with the developments of the controversial compensation to Alexandra Reis, the parliamentary commission of inquiry (CPI) to TAP was it not emptied?

“On the contrary”, respond the parties. But there is an exception, the PS, which admits that there is “a decrease in the importance” of the CPI in the face of the “consequences” (that is, the dismissals) that were, however, decided.

And why is it so important to scrutinize TAP in Parliament? Because, according to the deputies, there is still a lot (but a lot) to know. “TAP is like cheese, but one of those in which there are more holes than cheese”, compares Paulo Rios de Oliveira, from the PSD.

The parties insist that the purpose of the commission goes beyond of the controversial compensation of 500 thousand euros paid to Alexandra Reisformer administrator of the carrier and former Secretary of State for the Treasury, who ended up forced to return almost the entire amount.

There are clues raised by the IGF report that the parties want to follow and see deepened. “The commission was not emptied. Just see that the TAP CEO will take legal action, considering that he is right. We have to understand what is behind this sudden dismissal. And, as TAP is a public company, nothing could have been done without the approval of two ministries. There is also the question of the law firms that advised TAP and provided false information to the CMVM (market regulator)”, traces Filipe Melo, deputy from Chega.

But what there is to understand at TAP does not begin or end with Alexandra Reis. Hence, the Liberal Initiative wants to focus on decisions about capital injections in the company, namely “cost-benefit analyzes and the scenarios that existed on the table”. “TAP has 6400 cases Alexandra Reis”, compares Bernardo Blanco, in a reference to State injection of 3,200 million euros in the company.

A commission on TAP “with minimal noise”

It was from Bloco de Esquerda that the initiative for this parliamentary commission of inquiry into TAP, focused on the way in which the State supervised the company’s management between 2020 and 2022, came from.

At the beginning of the week, Mariana Mortágua insisted that, following the resignation of Christine Ourmières-Widener and Manuel Beja by the Government, there is “a whole chain of information that continues to be unclear”: “the Ministry of Finance knew or did not know the what happened?” and that “other decisions has Christine Ourmières-Widener taken lightly?”.

Fernando Medina, who has already gone to Parliament to explain the case of Alexandra Reis, removing personal faults in this dossier, will have to clarify the deputies again. O PS will lead the CPI, although for the party, in the voice of deputy Carlos Pereira, there has been a “decrease in its importance” with the developments in the Alexandra Reis case, which he defines as “a matter that left us shocked”. The work will take place, yes, but for the socialists it is a priority to guarantee “minimum noise around TAP” – or there was not a process of privatization of the company to be prepared.

Going back in time is going back to Neeleman

The CPI analysis period for TAP was set between 2020 and 2022. But all parties now admit that it will be necessary to go back in time. And a very particular moment in the privatization process in 2015: the alleged scheme found by former shareholder, David Neeleman, to finance the deal.

This is because the US$226.75 million in supplementary payments that the businessman made to TAP, guaranteeing privatization, came directly from Airbus. In exchange, Neeleman closed a deal to lease 53 planes to Airbus – a deal that made the airline pay its own capitalization, violating the Commercial Companies Code, paying for aircraft above market value.

The blogista Mortágua has already defined this business as a “fraud” and now insists that it is necessary to determine “whether the Government knew about it” – at the time, the executive was led by Pedro Passos Coelho. Neeleman came meanwhile to crease, through expressthat the Portuguese State was aware of these intricacies, both with Passos Coelho and with António Costa.

“Even if you want to talk more focused on TAP’s appointments, on the Alexandra Reis issue, on contracts and payments, we cannot ignore that these people entered TAP through the hand of private management”, insists Bruno Dias, from the PCP, party that always insisted on the need for an analysis that also took into account the privatization process of the company.

work until summer

But going back in time, expanding the scope of the CPI, implies that the works drag on for longer. History shows that the regulatory 90-day deadline is consistently exceeded. And the deputies, although they wanted to have the matter closed in May, admit that it could drag on longer, until the end of the parliamentary year, at the beginning of the summer.

“There has to be and there will be room to go there (at the time of privatization). It’s inevitable. Or the Assembly of the Republic is placed in a ridiculous position of having a commission of inquiry, with investigative powers, discussing payments of 500 thousand euros. And then there is the Economy commission, without these powers, discussing payments of 800 million from Airbus”, recalls Bruno Dias.

This is because, at the same time, there are other figures related to the privatization process of TAP (prior to the period of analysis of the CPI) that are being called to clarify doubts that exist about the decisions taken at that time.

From Chega comes the fear that the debate will focus too much on a casting of blame between PS and PSD. “The socialist bench will try to shift responsibility for privatization to the PSD. And the PSD will blame nationalization”, says Filipe Melo.

For now, the deputies are already in possession of most of the documentation requested from TAP, starting the necessary analysis for the preparation of the works.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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