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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Quand Passos Coelho snobait le fisc


When Passos Coelho snubbed the tax authorities

Translated Tuesday 10 March 2015, by Sonia Govindankutty

They have no shame! From 1999 to 2004, the Portuguese Prime Minister did not pay his social security contributions.

’Let the world say what it will — the procession passes and the dogs bark," could well be the motto of the Portuguese Prime Minister. During the parliamentary days of the Social Democratic Party held on Tuesday (on the right), Pedro Passos Coelho first tried to dodge the issue. Challenged by the newspaper Publico that had disclosed on Saturday that he had ’forgotten’ to pay his social security dues between 1999 and 2004 when he was a consultant with the company Tecnoforma, Coelho resorted to the wiliness so typical of him by daring to suggest, "No one can claim that I am a model citizen." It is an old story. As early as 2012 when he was accused of this ’oversight’, the authorities had ’reminded’ him that with default interest payments added to a debt of 1 034 Euros, he owed a total of 2 880 Euros. Pressured by our colleagues at Publico, Passos Coelho announced in February that he had ’voluntarily’ paid this sum since it had been ’owing to the tax authorities since 2009’. Indeed, everyone appreciated the generosity of the man who, at the time, was already a memebr of Parliament. Pushed to a corner, the Chief Executive tried to ram the point home - "You can be sure that many times in my life when there was a delay I paid more than what the State had called upon me to," he was forced to confess. According to him, this matter which is a non-issue is a sign of ’desperation’ from ’certain political quarters’ just ahead of the elections. To heck with the probity of the one who hastened to bow down to the commands of the men in black from the Troika. Austerity measures have ravaged the country, forcing more than 340 000 people to leave in order to escape the impoverished state of thousands of Portuguese who make ends meet on a minimum wage of 500 Euros. "Portugal has to honour its commitments," thunders Passos Coelho, who has, over the past years, accused his fellow citizens of ’excessive spending’. In present circumstances, one no longer knows who is barking.

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