Altice International has taken swift action in response to an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption, tax fraud, and money laundering at its Portuguese subsidiary. The company announced today (Wednesday) that it has suspended several managers, workers, and legal representatives in Portugal and elsewhere while the investigation is conducted.
The situation has escalated to the point where even the Co-Chief Executive of Altice International, Alexandre Fonseca, who also serves as chairman of the Portuguese and US subsidiaries, has suspended himself from all roles. This move came after the recent detention of Altice's co-founder, Armando Pereira, last week.
The police's investigation centers on suspicions that Altice's procurement process in Portugal was rigged. Armando Pereira's detention has raised significant public attention, and his lawyers released a statement on Tuesday denouncing what they called a "widespread attack" against him. They asserted that the communication surrounding the investigation immediately portrayed Pereira as guilty in the eyes of the public. The lawyers pledged full cooperation on Pereira's behalf, stating their intention to demonstrate a more complex reality than what has been conveyed so far.
Altice International's statement revealed that authorities have uncovered potential fraud and misconduct at Altice Portugal due to harmful practices by certain individuals and external entities. However, the company did not disclose the names of the suspended employees and legal representatives involved in the investigation.
To address the serious allegations, Altice has initiated an internal investigation focused on procurement and real estate sales, both within the Portuguese operations and the broader Altice group. Local media has reported that the investigation is particularly scrutinizing the sale of several buildings in Lisbon, which took place during Alexandre Fonseca's tenure as CEO of Altice Portugal, spanning from November 2017 to April 2022. It is alleged that these transactions caused significant financial harm to the company, potentially amounting to hundreds of millions of euros.
Armando Pereira, who is a resident of Portugal but lives in France, remains in custody as of Wednesday. He is expected to testify before a judge in the coming days as part of the ongoing investigation.
The unfolding situation has raised concerns within Altice International and the broader telecommunications industry. As the investigation progresses, the company faces significant challenges in restoring public trust and ensuring the integrity of its operations. Altice's quick and decisive actions in suspending key personnel demonstrate its commitment to cooperate fully with the authorities and resolve any misconduct found during the investigation.
By fLEXI tEAM