Ricardo Salgado

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Person.png Ricardo Salgado  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
BornJune 25, 1944
Alma materUniversidade Técnica de Lisboa
Portuguese banker charged with corruption

Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Salgado is a Portuguese economist and banker from the Espírito Santo family.[1] The Espírito Santo family is one of the most influential business families in Portugal and has helped shape the country's economic fortunes for more than 100 years, especially during the Salazar dictatorship years.

For 22 years, Salgado was head of the family clan, at the head of the largest private bank in Portugal, Banco Espírito Santo (BES) and the family holding Grupo Espírito Santo (GES) until his resignation and arrest.[2] Salgado was detained on the 24 July 2014 in an investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering. He was later released after posting a bail of €3m.[3]


Ricardo Salgado was born in Cascais. The great-grandson of José Maria do Espírito Santo Silva and maternal grandson of Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Ribeiro, Salgado spent the first years of his life in Lisbon. He lived in Lapa, where he studied at a public elementary school and later at Liceu Pedro Nunes.[4][5]

He has a degree in Economics from the Higher Institute of Economic and Financial Sciences of the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (1969), and did his Military Service in the Portuguese Navy, on the Officer Training Course of the Naval Reserve.[6]


Ricardo Salgado joined the Banco Espírito Santo e Comercial de Lisboa where, in 1972, he headed up the Economic Studies Bureau and subsequently the Credit Board, where he remained until 1975, when the bank was nationalised.[7] From abroad he participated in reconstructing the Espírito Santo Group, first from Brazil (1976-1982) and later from Switzerland (1982-1991).[8] In 1991, after the reprivatisation, he became Executive Chairman of the Banco Espírito Santo (BES) and started on a journey that, among many other aspects, led to an increase in market share from 8% to 20% and to its internationalization (BES is present in 23 countries, on 4 continents).

In 2002, he was appointed to the Supervisory Board of the Euronext NV (Amsterdam) and in 2006 he took part in the merger of Euronext with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), as a non-executive member of the Board until 2011. He was non-executive Director of Banco Bradesco (Brazil) from 2003 to 2012.[9]

He is currently a Member of the Senior Board of the Espírito Santo Group, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Chairman of the Banco Espírito Santo, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Espírito Santo Financial Group, SA – Luxembourg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Banco Espírito Santo de Investimento, Member of the Board of Directors of Banque Privée Espírito Santo SA – Lausanne and Member of the Board of Directors of Banque Espírito Santo et de la Vénétie – Paris.[10]

Ricardo Salgado was the mentor of BES internationalization, focusing on the strategic triangle Africa, Brazil and Spain. Today, BES international area weighs half of the bank's profits.[11] In 2012 the bank led by Ricardo Salgado was the only one of the three largest private Portuguese banks to raise capital using only the shareholders and stock market, without recourse to taxpayers' money.[12] In January 2013 BES was the only Portuguese bank to manage the operation that marks the return of Portugal to the markets, since the country has been subject to the European troika's intervention.[13]

In May 2014, the Bank of Portugal issued a scathing audit which questioned the financial stability and transparency of BES. In the wake of this report, and subsequent downgrades of the bank's credit, Ricardo Salgado announced his resignation from the post of CEO.[14]

Ricardo Salgado was detained on 24 July 2014 in an investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering in which Salgado, was later released on bail of €3m after being questioned by an investigating magistrate at Lisbon's central court of criminal investigation.[15] The Prosecutor stated to the media that, “after the court hearing the accused was subject to coercive measures to deposit the amount of €3 million, is not allowed to leave the national territory and is prohibited from contacting certain people. Under discussion is the possible practice of fraud, breach of trust, forgery and money laundering."

In June 2016, Banco de Portugal sentenced Salgado to a fine of four million euros and a ban on exercising any activity in banking for 10 years. He was convicted of five unlawful acts related to the sale of Espírito Santo International's debt to former BES and ESAF customers.

Operation Marquis Corruption Investigation

Ricardo Salgado is a defendant in the Operation Marquis corruption case. [16]

He is accused of active corruption of political office holder (1), active corruption (2), money laundering (9), abuse of trust (3) forgery of documents (3) and qualified tax fraud (3).

He denied that he ever paid bribes to former prime minister José Sócrates.


Financial Times, 25 July 2014:[17] "For the first time in its history, Banco Espírito Santo, one of Portugal’s largest banks, has been placed under independent management with no connection to the banking dynasty that gives the lender its name. The family business empire is in turmoil after its three main companies filed for court protection from creditors. Salgado, who was detained and questioned on Thursday, has been made a formal suspect in a money-laundering investigation. The epitome of Portuguese banking’s fondness for sober suits and wood-panelled boardrooms, Salgado has maintained his traditional gravitas through months of intense crisis for the family group. His serious image matches the power and influence that many believe Portugal’s best-known banker has wielded for 15 years or more. The media has dubbed him “DDT”, the initials for “Dono Disto Tudo”, or “Owner of All This”, a nickname said to have originated in the Espírito Santo family itself. Salgado was born in 1944 into what was already a wealthy banking dynasty, one of a handful of powerful families that António de Oliveira Salazar, the rightwing dictator, allowed to dominate the Portuguese economy. The Espírito Santos mingled with the Rockefellers and befriended the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. But the family's social origins were more humble, some suggesting that their name – which translates as Holy Ghost – originates from a surname traditionally given to babies left at churches by destitute mothers.

As a 30-year-old junior director, Salgado escaped being imprisoned with several senior family members, who were held for months after the 1974 coup that overthrew the dictatorship. In 1975, the banking sector was nationalised and the Espírito Santos dispersed abroad, Salgado living in Brazil and Switzerland. By 1991, he had established himself as the head of the family, leading its return to Portugal and the reacquisition of its bank through a reprivatisation programme. Although wealthy, Salgado is not known for an ostentatious lifestyle, telling a Portuguese newspaper in May that “my life begins at 8.30am in the bank and ends at 10pm in the bank”. He has made a number of high-profile business enemies during his 22 years at the helm of BES, particularly through feuding between the five strands of the Espírito Santo family over leadership successions. But the financial and legal woes now engulfing the group have generated bitter rifts that continue to surface.

Salgado's influence is rapidly waning. According to annual rankings drawn up by the Jornal de Negócios newspaper, Salgado was the third most powerful person in the Portuguese economy last year; this year he is in 48th position.


Events Participated in

Bilderberg/199712 June 199715 June 1997US
Lake Lanier
Georgia (State)
The 45th Bilderberg meeting
Bilderberg/19993 June 19996 June 1999Portugal
The 47th Bilderberg, 111 participants
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  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20140808062728/http://www.bes.pt/SITEBES/cms.aspx?plg=3E6E6647-BE8A-45D5-93CD-E626C30EDFD9
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20131203060135/http://sicnoticias.sapo.pt/economia/2013/11/12/jose-maria-ricciardi-e-primo-de-ricardo-salgado-e-o-principal-candidato-a-sucessao-do-bes
  3. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fa67e776-133c-11e4-925a00144feabdc0.html#axzz38UbbaMzU
  4. https://economico.sapo.pt/noticias/o-banqueiro-do-costume_123064.html%7Ctitle=O Banqueiro do costume
  5. http://www.cmjornal.xl.pt/detalhe/noticias/outros/domingo/os-ricos-portugueses
  6. https://web.archive.org/web/20140808062728/http://www.bes.pt/SITEBES/cms.aspx?plg=3E6E6647-BE8A-45D5-93CD-E626C30EDFD9
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20140808062728/http://www.bes.pt/SITEBES/cms.aspx?plg=3E6E6647-BE8A-45D5-93CD-E626C30EDFD9
  8. https://economico.sapo.pt/noticias/o-banqueiro-do-costume_123064.html
  9. https://web.archive.org/web/20140808062728/http://www.bes.pt/SITEBES/cms.aspx?plg=3E6E6647-BE8A-45D5-93CD-E626C30EDFD9
  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20140808062728/http://www.bes.pt/SITEBES/cms.aspx?plg=3E6E6647-BE8A-45D5-93CD-E626C30EDFD9
  11. https://economico.sapo.pt/noticias/o-banqueiro-do-costume_123064.html
  12. http://portugalglobal.pt/PT/PortugalNews/RevistaImprensaNacional/AicepPortugalGlobal/Documents/BES_Exame041012.pdf
  13. https://economico.sapo.pt/noticias/barclays-deutsche-bank-bes-e-morgan-montam-regresso-ao-mercado_160842.html
  14. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/11/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?ref=business
  15. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fa67e776-133c-11e4-925a00144feabdc0.html#axzz38UbbaMzU
  16. https://www.jornaldenegocios.pt/economia/justica/detalhe/contas-bancarias-mp-investiga-as-de-manuel-pinho-suica-arresta-as-de-ricardo-salgado
  17. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2150eb92-13f3-11e4-b46f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz398j9tVDA