The prime minister took refuge in the rule of law to put the tax authority (AT) in charge of checking if there is a place to pay taxes on the sale of six computer dams in the Douro Basin to a French consortium. But he admitted that a “tax simulation” was “unacceptable” and left a suggestion which he repeated with a warning tone: “I can’t think of the tax authorities not seeing what is happening in this business”.
António Costa responded to the leaders of the PSD and the bloc who confronted him on Wednesday during a debate in parliament. Rui Rio tried to explain the “scheme” of the operation, which was supposedly “computerized to avoid paying taxes”, including the € 110 million stamp duty: “In one day he co-founds a business one employee, the next day he begins exploring six dams worth 2.2 billion euros. For that company, the company is sold to the consortium on the same day, which wipes it out a month later. “
The PSD chairman accused the government of “quickly collecting taxes from the Portuguese” and at the same time having members who are “authentic defenders of the EDP” when they said that the tax authorities were, as before, “owed nothing” to the environment ministers and the Secretary of State for Tax Affairs.
According to the “scheme” highlighted by Rui Rio, António Costa would refer to it as “creative building”, but defended the government’s position, recalling that it is the TA that is responsible for monitoring. “I don’t think that after all this, the AT director understandably didn’t send Bruaá to see what would happen to this business. If you don’t, I’m at a loss, and if you do, you don’t have to inform, ”he said. This competence must be exercised “without interference” by members of the government, he added – a statement in which Rui Rio read a “criticism” to the environment minister, which the prime minister promptly denied: “It is not censorship, it is a compliment”.
The helplessness in connection with the deal had already been expressed by the chairman of BE, who was responsible for initiating the parliamentary debate. “How can you approve a deal that enabled EDP to escape stamp duty on more than 110 million euros alone?” Asked Catarina Martins. The block coordinator insisted on knowing whether “aggressive tax planning was not an issue in the government,” but António Costa limited himself to discarding any responsibility of the executive, other than the competence to “approve the concession or not to delegate the suitability.” to assess the concessionaire and determine whether he was able to manage the flows ”. With Maria Lopes