Altice Group places several managers and employees on leave while investigation takes place

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Altice International and its affiliates “have placed several legal representatives, managers and employees in Portugal and abroad on leave” while the investigation into “Operation Picoas” is ongoing, the group announced today, assuring collaboration with the authorities.

In a statement, Altice International said it “continues to carry out its activities in the normal course” following the ‘Picoas operation’ and will continue to conduct the business “with the highest integrity” in the best interests of all stakeholders.

Patrick Drahi’s group adds that an internal investigation has been launched in Portugal and other jurisdictions.

In the document, released almost a week after the Portuguese subsidiary’s headquarters in Lisbon was raided, the group says it “notes that the Portuguese authorities have identified that Altice Portugal has allegedly been defrauded as a result of harmful practices and misconduct by certain individuals and external entities”.

The “Picoas operation”, triggered on July 13, led to three arrests, including that of the co-founder of the Altice group Armando Pereira, had about 90 home and non-home searches, including the headquarters of Altice Portugal, in Lisbon, and premises of companies and offices in various parts of the country, according to the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP) of the Public Ministry (MP).

This was a joint action by the MP and the Tax Authority (AT).

“The Portuguese Public Prosecutor’s Office has clarified that its investigation concerns harmful practices on which Altice Portugal and its subsidiaries are impacted and, therefore, victims of fraud by individuals”, continues Altice International, in the statement.

Altice International says it is working “actively” to protect “the interests of the group and all stakeholders” and that Altice Portugal is providing “all cooperation” requested by the Portuguese authorities and will remain “available for any clarification” to assist the ongoing investigation.

“With immediate effect, Altice International will review and strengthen the approval process for all procurement, payments, purchase orders and related processes both in Portugal and at Altice International level,” it notes.

In addition, the group and its affiliates are currently reviewing appropriate next steps with their legal advisors and will consider all legal options, in all jurisdictions.

“Altice International continues to carry out its activities in the normal course and will continue to conduct business with the highest integrity in the best interests of all stakeholders, with customers and employees,” he said.

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