Pedro Passos Coelho backs his Minister of Finance Maria Luís Albuquerque despite an ongoing furore over how much she may have known about swap financial transactions at state companies.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho holds “every confidence” in his Minister of Finance Maria Luís Albuquerque his office confirmed to Lusa late on Thursday.
The backing came despite an ongoing furore over how much she may have known about swap financial transactions at state companies that turned sour and that risked leaving the entities substantially exposed.
In a Thursday evening television interview on the SIC channel, Maria Luís Albuquerque did accept that she had received emails from Pedro Felício, the former General Director of the Treasury and Finances, in June and July of 2011.
However, the minister maintained in the interview that details were “lacking” and was unable to appreciate “the full scale of the problem” despite Lusa earlier reporting that the emails stated that potential losses from the financial deals might amount to €1.5bn.
In the interview, Albuquerque went onto dismiss allegations that she had been undermined by the powers to negotiate with Portugal’s ‘troika’ of international creditors being handed to Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas, whose threat to resign triggered an ultimately unsuccessful presidential effort to negotiate a government of National Unity led to this week’s cabinet reshuffle.
We have a great deal of work to be done and we should all work towards the same goal – with Paulo Portas and also with the remaining members of the government,” said the Minister of Finance.
In turn, Portugal’s left wing parties were already baying for her blood with the Left Bloc issuing a statement calling for her resignation on the grounds that everything she had told a parliamentary inquiry into the swap operations had been “totally false.”
Meanwhile, the PCP Communist party issued a call for the minister to be recalled by the parliamentary commission in order to clarify “the latest revelations” .
It was in the wake of these moves that the Prime Minister’s office told Lusa: “The Prime Minister retains every confidence in his minister of finance.”