Sale of Sapo building by Altice investigated by public prosecutor’s office

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Building in Lisbon was bought by Armando Pereira’s right-hand man, despite having made a lower offer.

The building of the former headquarters of the Sapo portal, in the center of Lisbon, was sold, at the end of 2019, by MEO Serviços de Comunicações e Multimédia, of the Altice Group, to Smartdev (company based in the Madeira Free Trade Zone), of Hernâni Vaz Antunes, defendant of Operation Picoas currently under house arrest and considered the right-hand man of Armando Pereira, who founded Altice with Patrick Drahi. The deal will have been closed at 7 million euros, but the company will have received an offer to buy the property with address at number 32 of Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo in the amount of 8 million euros, which will have rejected.

The news advanced by Expresso says that “the administration of Altice Portugal (which bought PT), then led by Alexandre Fonseca (manager currently with suspended functions), agreed to sell the property for € 1 million below the proposal that the operator had refused months earlier”, noting that it was “João Pedro de Mendonça, then director of assets of the telecommunications operator (and who has already left the group), who ended up alerting, in an email address, those interested in the building that the administration of the powerful Portuguese economic group had opted for another solution”.

Currently, in this building – located right next to the historic headquarters of Portugal Telecom (PT), between Saldanha and Marquês de Pombal – work, according to the newspaper, companies associated with the Vaz Antunes universe, which are service providers of Patrick Drahi’s group in Portugal and in other operations, giving as examples Setling and Tirion.

Building bought and resold by companies controlled by Hernâni Vaz Antunes
Citing sources close to the operation that is under investigation, the weekly says the deal did not stop there. In December 2020, the same building was resold to Almost Future for 7.5 million, and, according to Expresso, both Smartdev and Almost Future were companies controlled by Hernâni Vaz Antunes, a businessman also known as the “commission agent”. Together with Armando Pereira, these are the main defendants in Operation Picoas, which investigates the web of suspicious business around Altice that will have harmed the State by more than 100 million.

The sale of the Sapo Building was, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, negotiated by João Zúquete, Armando Pereira’s trusted manager and Altice’s director with responsibility for assets, whose duties have been suspended following the ongoing investigation for corruption and money laundering, as the newspaper details in the same report.

Iris Lavan
Iris Lavan
With a background as a consultant in the medical industry, Iris Lavan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Portugal Pulse. Iris also runs a company in Tel Aviv offering marketing, business development, content creation and public relations services. She holds a degree in economics and management, giving her a solid grounding in business strategy and financial planning. Iris' commitment to Portugal Pulse is reflected not only in her consulting career, but also in her impact on the Portugale media landscape in Israel. She was an interviewer for Hadshot Portugal חדשות פורטוגל, a media outlet that broadcasts news about Portugal in Hebrew, where she provided valuable information on current affairs, healthcare and the economy. Since July 2023, Iris has also been part of the Portugal Pulse team.

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