Press release of Banco de Portugal on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ report on Isabel dos Santos
In light of the news released yesterday on Isabel dos Santos and EuroBic, Banco de Portugal clarifies the following:
1. With regard to the operations specified by the media, Banco de Portugal has today asked EuroBic for information against which it can assess how EuroBic analysed and complied with its obligations for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF).
2. Depending on the assessment of the information to be received, Banco de Portugal will draw the necessary conclusions, namely for prudential and administrative offence purposes.
3. Over the past few years, Banco de Portugal has closely monitored EuroBic’s activities. This entailed the implementation of a considerable set of supervisory measures to strengthen, in all its different aspects, the institution’s internal governance mechanisms, including ML/TF controls. Furthermore, there has been a strong interaction with EuroBic’s Board, to ensure that the established measures are effectively implemented.
4. Specifically regarding the ML/TF prevention mechanisms, in 2015 Banco de Portugal conducted a cross-cutting inspection on the soundness of the EuroBic’s anti-ML/TF mechanisms. Banco de Portugal has since then been monitoring the degree of implementation of the ensuing recommendations. In 2019 a new cross-cutting inspection of EuroBic was initiated.
5. Banco de Portugal also clarifies that Ms dos Santos is not a member of the Board of any entity subject to Banco de Portugal's supervision.
6. As of today, Isabel dos Santos is a shareholder (with a 42.5% holding) of EuroBic.
7. With regard to the composition of the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board of EuroBic for the 2016/19 mandate, the number of members linked to EuroBic’s qualifying shareholders fell considerably, while the number of independent members rose markedly. Indeed, the mandate of several members of the Board of Directors linked to qualifying shareholders was not renewed in 2016, as was the case of Ms dos Santos.
8. Turning to the fit and proper requirements (of Board members and shareholders), Banco de Portugal takes into account any new fact that may be relevant to the fit and proper assessment/reassessment of all those persons performing management/supervisory functions or who are shareholders of institutions subject to its supervision. For that purpose, within the limits of the applicable legal framework, Banco de Portugal interacts and exchanges information with all national and international entities and authorities, to substantiate any fact that may be relevant to make that assessment.
9. Banco de Portugal follows the best international supervisory practice, including in the field of the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF), as recognised in the assessment conducted by the Financial Action Task Force to Portugal (see the December 2017 report at https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/mer-portugal-2017.html).