Manuel Pinho

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Manuel Pinho
Manuel Pinho.jpg
Minister of Economy and Innovation
In office
14 March 2005 – 2 July 2009
PresidentJorge Sampaio
Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Prime MinisterJosé Sócrates
Preceded byÁlvaro Barreto (as Minister of Economy)
Graça Carvalho (as Minister of Innovation)
Succeeded byFernando Teixeira dos Santos
Personal details
Born (1954-10-28) 28 October 1954 (age 64)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Alexandra Pinho
Alma materTechnical University of Lisbon
Paris West University Nanterre La Défense
ProfessionEconomist, professor

Manuel António Gomes de Almeida de Pinho (born 28 October 1954) is a Portuguese former Minister of Economy and Innovation (2005–09) who subsequently became an energy policy lecturer at several universities worldwide.

As of February 2019, he is listed as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs[1] that hired him in 2010 under controversial circumstances;[2] and is being investigated in Portugal for having, while he was minister, secretly received monthly offshore payments from the Espírito Santo Financial Group,[3][4] and improperly benefited Portugal’s Energias de Portugal electricity company in exchange for it paying Columbia University the funds used to hire him.[5]

He is also remembered in Portuguese popular culture for an outburst in 2009 in the Portuguese Parliament that forced his resignation and was reported by mainstream media worldwide.[6]

Education and early career (1975-1994)[edit]

Pinho was born in Lisbon in 1954 and graduated from the Technical University of Lisbon in 1975.[7][citation needed] He completed his doctoral degree in economics at Université Paris X Nanterre in 1982,[7][citation needed] after which he became a professor at the Technical University of Lisbon and the Catholic University of Portugal;[8] he has also been a visiting scholar at the New York University Stern School of Business.[citation needed] He left academia to work as an economist at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. from 1984-1988.[9][citation needed] He returned to Portugal in 1988 to become a management-level banker at the Portuguese subsidiaries of Manufacturers Hanover and Credit Lyonnais.[8]

Between 1991 and 1994, Pinho was Director-General of the Portuguese Treasury and is credited[by whom?] with the reform of Portugal's public debt market.[citation needed] In that capacity, he held ex officio seats on the Portuguese Economic and Social Council, on the advisory board of the Lisbon Stock Exchange Commission, as chairman of Portugal's Public Credit Board,[10][citation needed] and represented Portugal at the European Investment Bank and at the European Monetary Committee.[9][citation needed] Pinho's tenure at the Treasury coincided with the second and final stage of the privatization of Banco Espírito Santo,[11] which he joined right after he resigned from the Treasury in 1994.

Espirito Santo Financial Group career (1994-2014)[edit]

Pinho was for 10 years a top operative of Portugal's defunct Espirito Santo Financial Group (ESFG) on whose payrolls he remained for most of 1994-2004.[12] He was initially hired as the group’s head of research and quickly rose to become a full member of the Executive Board of Banco Espírito Santo in charge of key financial operations areas.[13] He also quickly won the trust of one of the bank's senior shareholders and Espirito Santo family scion Ricardo Espírito Santo Salgado who would become the bank's next chairman and Pinho’s mentor[14] in his family-controlled Espirito Santo Financial Group publicly saying in 2014 that Pinho was "a good financier" and had "delivered great services."[15]

ESFG chairman Ricardo Salgado who became Pinho's career mentor at ESFG and secretly continued to pay Pinho while he was minister and arranged him a generous financial support package afterwards.[16]

As a result, when Pinho became minister in 2004, it was widely believed[17] that it had been due to the influence of Salgado, who would publicly deny it a decade later.[18] However, Salgado continued to secretly pay Pinho 14.963,94 euros per month while Pinho was minister,[19] in addition to hiring Pinho’s second wife to oversee the bank’s newly started modern photography collection,[20]) thus ensuring that Pinho remained bound to the ESFG while he was minister. Against this background, some of the decisions Pinho took as minister were criticized for benefiting ESFG, such as the sale of Portugália Airlines,[21] the SONAE Group’s failed tender offer for Portugal Telecom where ESFG was the largest minority shareholder,[22] or Pinho's dealings with EDP-Energias de Portugal that was chaired by another former ESFG top operative António Mexia.[21] Pinho's alleged favouring of EDP-Energias de Portugal when he awarded it the 26 year hydro-electricity buying monopoly bypassing the regular public bidding procedures would subsequently be considered by the European Commission and the Portuguese Court of Audits detrimental to the interests of the Portuguese treasury and electricity consumers.[23][24] In June 2017, it also became the subject of a corruption investigation by the Portuguese Judicial Police that indicted Pinho, Mexia, and Salgado.[25][26]

After resigning from his minister position in 2009, Pinho was rehired by the ESFG as non-executive vice-president of its Banco Espírito Santo Africa subsidiary in what was later revealed to be a 39,000 euros per month in lieu of a pension that allowed Pinho to be away teaching in New York and elsewhere.[27]

Pension controversy and litigation[edit]

Pinho’s relationship with the ESFG soured in 2014, when he demanded early payment of his pension benefits[28] in anticipation of the collapse of ESFG, which happened shortly afterwards. His pension withdrawal request was refused by the new management of Novo Banco, the entity that took over the ESFG, and, in 2015, Pinho sued Novo Banco and the former ESFG pension fund for 7.8 million euros consistent with his claim of a lifetime pension of 21,000 euros per month pension from age 65. In response, the Novo Banco cut his 39,000 euros per month BESA salary to 3,000 euros[29] (2,000 euros according to other sources[16]), which led Pinho to rescind his contract and file a second lawsuit to obtain compensation in line with the original salary amount. According to Pinho’s own court depositions, when he became minister in 2005 he had asked for an early retirement package from age 55, but, since the statutory age was 65, Salgado agreed instead to give Pinho the "no-show" job until he reached the applicable age. In 2016, Pinho lost both lawsuits.[30][31]

Panama Papers involvement[edit]

In 2016, Pinho was first referenced in the Panama Papers leaks as having received 180,000 euros in offshore payments from a shell company for the ESFG.[32] In 2018 it was revealed that Pinho had held at least four offshore secret bank accounts in his name,[33] including one in Panama (named “Tartaruga Foundation”) into which he had received 3.5 million euros in under-the-table payments from his former boss Ricardo Salgado between 2006–14, including at least 778,000 euros while Pinho was government minister and bound by office not to receive income from other sources, which led in 2017 to Pinho being indicted in Portugal on passive corruption and influence peddling charges.[34] [19]

Political and ministerial career (2005-09)[edit]

Pinho entered government politics in the early 2000s when he started contributing to Portugal's opposition Socialist Party economic agenda for the 2005 legislative elections. In 2005 he was rewarded by Socialist Party President José Sócrates who allowed Manuel Pinho to run as an independent in the elections and placed him at the top of the Socialist Party list for the district of Aveiro thus ensuring his election.[35]

José Sócrates Portugal's Prime-Minister in 2005-09 and on whose government Pinho served as Minister of Economy and Innovation.

Following the Socialist Party's victory in the elections, Sócrates became Prime Minister and invited Pinho to be Minister of Economy and Innovation in the new government.[36] As minister, Pinho attached priority to the full use of Portugal's existing renewable energy sources and development of new ones.[37] During his term in office, Portugal’s installed capacity for wind-powered generation tripled from 1,000 to 3,000 MW and for solar-powered it increased from virtually nothing (3MW) to 60 MW.[38] He also launched an electric car program that sought to make Portugal the first country in Europe with a nationwide charging network, but the program was scrapped shortly after Pinho left government.[39] In 2008, Pinho promoted an experimental sea-waves powered generation station, but it failed after three months.[40][41] As energy minister of a European Union member country, Pinho contributed to the European Union's first Strategic Energy Technology Plan of 2007, that served as a blueprint for European development of low-carbon energy production.[42]

However, Pinho was much criticized for his dealings with EDP-Energias de Portugal and its chairman Antonio Mexia, whom he had worked with at the ESFG. Pinho's decisions to grant high price guarantees to renewable energy generation and a 26-year hydropower buying monopoly to EDP-Energias de Portugal were deemed "excessive" by the subsequent government,[43] "non-competitive and undervalued" by the European Commission that opened an official inquiry in 2013,[23] and "contrary to the public interest" by the Portuguese Court of Audits in 2016.[24]

Pinho, in a 2007 interview, described himself using the English expression "I’m the one they love to hate" referring to his critics.[44] As Minister, he also became known for being prone to political gaffes[45][46] that drew him plenty of press and social media coverage and ultimately led to his resignation.

Controversial resignation[edit]

On 2 July 2009, Pinho resigned as minister following an outburst in the Portuguese Parliament during the State of the Nation debate when he held his index fingers to his temples and mimicked a bull’s horns in a cuckolding gesture directed at a communist parliamentarian who heckled Pinho for personally delivering a 5,000 euros cheque from EDP-Energias de Portugal to the local football team during a visit to the town of Aljustrel.[47] Facing outcries of disrespectful conduct, at first Pinho tried to keep his job and apologized indirectly, but he was forced to resign two hours later after meeting behind closed doors with his Cabinet colleague, the minister of Parliamentary Affairs.[48] That same night, Pinho went on national TV to explain himself saying: "naturally I am sorry. I am an educated person."[49] Portugal’s prime minister, Sócrates, also apologized "on behalf of the government"[50] and Portugal’s president Anibal Cavaco Silva weighed in stating publicly that "institutional respect is a sacred principle of democracy."[51]

The TV footage of the cuckolding gesture[52] immediately went viral making Pinho the subject of worldwide press coverage[53] and countless Internet memes[54] showing him self-applying horns to his own head.

ESFG offshore payments to Pinho while he was Minister[edit]

In 2017, Pinho's record as a minister was shaken by the revelation that the whole time he was in office he had been receiving through a secret offshore account a monthly allowance of 15,000 euros from his Espirito Santo Financial Group mentor Ricardo Salgado totaling over a million euros over his mandate.[55]

Academic career (2010 onwards)[edit]

SIPA's office building at Columbia University, where Manuel Pinho has intermittently been a Visiting Professor since 2010.

Prior to becoming a banker in the early 1990s, Pinho had taught economics at Lisbon's Economics Institute. He returned to academia in 2010 when the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University hired him as an Energy Policy Visiting Professor [56] following a "multi-year gift" from EDP-Energias de Portugal as disclosed by SIPA in its 2010,[57] 2011,[58] and 2012[59] Annual Reports. Pinho has also been a visiting professor at Georgetown University, a senior fellow of the Jackson Institute, Yale University, director of the Lisbon University Institute's energy MBA,[60] a guest professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, and at Renmin University of China.[citation needed]

Controversial hiring of Pinho by Columbia University[edit]

The coincidence of EDP's decision to sponsor Columbia University and its hiring of Manuel Pinho generated much controversy in the Portuguese press[61][62] that reported Manuel Pinho had arranged for the gift from EDP in an amount of 3 million euros[63] while he was minister in charge of energy issues and dealt extensively with EDP-Energias de Portugal. According to the press, this raised issues of a major conflict of interest and political graft for Pinho and Mexia and of academic integrity for Columbia University for seemingly granting faculty positions in exchange for cash gifts,[64] as evidenced by an e-mail from the SIPA Dean at the time, John Coatsworth, asking EDP to make a first payment of 300 thousand dollars for a guest professor position, for which “Manuel Pinho was the best positioned candidate."[65] Manuel Pinho and EDP managers repeatedly denied that there had been an arrangement to hire Manuel Pinho,[66] but, in February 2019, more e-mails were revealed that confirmed that Pinho had personally asked Columbia University to hire him in exchange for 1.2 million euros from EDP and that he had pleaded that the arrangement not be revealed publicly.[67]

Personal life[edit]

Pinho is the father of three children from his 20-year first marriage to fashion entrepreneur Paula Serra that ended in divorce in the early 2000s. He remarried another divorcee Alexandra Fonseca with grown children of her own.

In a 2006 interview about his personal life,[68] Pinho publicly acknowledged that he was an avid collector of photography and revealed that "after he returned from America" in 1988 he had a near death auto accident that has since limited his mobility. Pinho also revealed a passion for dancing when he said that, despite the accident, he "could still dance and loved to do it."[68] In another interview in 2005, he had revealed he was a lifelong supporter of Lisbon-based football team S.L. Benfica.[8]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ (in Portuguese) [2] [Observador] (15 February 2019)
  3. ^ [3] [Correio da Manhã (Portugal)](15 October 2018)
  4. ^ (in Portuguese) [4] (Observador) (19 April 2018)
  5. ^ "PJ investiga patrocínio da EDP a curso ministrado por Manuel Pinho". Diário de Notícias (in Portuguese). Portugal. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  6. ^ Cabral, Eva (3 July 2009). "Demissão de Manuel Pinho marca Estado da Nação". Diário de Notícias (in Portuguese). Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Portal do Governo - Manuel Pinho". Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  8. ^ a b c (in Portuguese) [5] Manuel Pinho, Um Financeiro A Cuidar de Empresas (Jornalde Negocios) 14 March 2005
  9. ^ a b "OECD - Manuel Pinho" (PDF). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  10. ^ "Manuel Pinho" (PDF). Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  11. ^ "Banco Espírito Santo".
  12. ^ O último Banqueiro by Maria João Babo e maria João Gago´, Lua de Papel, 2014
  13. ^ "Banco Espírito Santo".
  14. ^ "Expresso". Jornal Expresso.
  15. ^ "Salgado: "Não contribui" para escolha de Pinho para ministro de Sócrates - Banca & Finanças - Jornal de Negócios".
  16. ^ a b "Manuel Pinho exige 7,8 milhões de euros ao Novo Banco em tribunal".
  17. ^ [6] Público (19 October 2014)
  18. ^ [7] [Jornal de Negocios](9 December 2014)
  19. ^ a b (in Portuguese) [8] (Observador) (19 April 2018)
  20. ^ "Manuel Pinho - Um financeiro de carreira a cuidar das empresas".
  21. ^ a b (in Portuguese) [9] [Diário de Notícias] (6 November 2006)
  22. ^ [10] [Radio Renascenca (Portugal)](21 October 2015)
  23. ^ a b (in Portuguese) [11] Público (18 September 2013)
  24. ^ a b (in Portuguese) [12] Público (14 April 2016)
  25. ^ (in Portuguese) [13] Diário de Notícias (Portugal) (2 June 2017)
  26. ^ (in Portuguese) [14] Jornal de Negocios (Portugal) (3 July 2017)
  27. ^ "Manuel Pinho exige mais de dois milhões de euros ao BES". Observador.
  28. ^ Cristina Ferreira. "Manuel Pinho negoceia reforma de 3,5 milhões com o grupo Espírito Santo". PÚBLICO.
  29. ^ [15] [Correio da Manhã (Portugal)](12 May 2016)
  30. ^ [16] [Jornal de Negocios](12 May 2016)
  31. ^ Manuel Pinho perde novo processo, Expresso (19 June 2016)
  32. ^ Cristina Ferreira. "Empresa apanhada nos Panama Papers pagou cerca de 180 mil euros a Manuel Pinho". PÚBLICO.
  33. ^ (in Portuguese) [17] (Visao) (20 April 2018)
  34. ^ (in Portuguese) [18] (Observador) (2 October 2018)
  35. ^ "Eleição para a Assembleia da República – 20 Fevereiro 2005 listas de candidatos" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  36. ^ "PINHO, Manuel António Gomes de Almeida" (in Portuguese). Instituto de História Contemporãnea. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  37. ^ "Staking all on a renewable future". BBC News. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  38. ^ (in Portuguese) [19] Naturelink (Portugal) (29 May 2009)
  39. ^ (in Portuguese) [20] (Jornal de Negócios) (16 June 2009)
  40. ^ (in Portuguese) [21] Expresso (Portugal) (13 January 2010)
  41. ^ [22] [Correio da Manhã (Portugal)](26 April 2012)
  42. ^ Manuel Pinho (2008). "Europe's new energy era" (PDF). Ministry of Economy and Innovation. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  43. ^ (in Portuguese) [23] Sol (23 June 2014)
  44. ^ (in Portuguese) [24] (Jornal de Negócios) (6 February 2007)
  45. ^ (in Portuguese) [25] Diário de Notícias (Portugal) (18 April 2016)
  46. ^ (in Portuguese) [26] Expresso (Portugal) (2 July 2009)
  47. ^ (in Portuguese) [27] (Jornal de Negócios) (2 July 2009)
  48. ^ (in Portuguese) [28] [Diário de Notícias] (3 July 2009)
  49. ^ (in Portuguese) [29] (Jornal de Negócios) (2 July 2009)
  50. ^ (in Portuguese) [30] Diário de Notícias (Portugal) (3 July 2009)
  51. ^ (in Portuguese) [31] Expresso (Portugal) (3 July 2009)
  52. ^ [32] [YouTube] (2 July 2009)
  53. ^ (in Portuguese) [33] [Diário de Notícias] (3 July 2009)
  54. ^ (in Portuguese) [34] [Jornal de Notícias] (3 July 2009)
  55. ^ (in Portuguese) [35] (Observador) (2 October 2018)
  56. ^ "Global Leader in Renewable Energy Will Teach at SIPA". School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^ "The Energy MBA". ISCTE – Lisbon University Institute. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  61. ^ (in Portuguese) [36] (Jornal de Negócios) (13 August 2010)
  62. ^ (in Portuguese) [37] (TVI24) (13 August 2010)
  63. ^ "Três milhões da EDP para Pinho".
  64. ^ (in Portuguese) [38] [Diário de Notícias] (4 October 2010)
  65. ^ (in Portuguese) [39] [Visao] (10 December 2017)
  66. ^ (in Portuguese) [40] [Observador] (18 December 2018)
  67. ^ (in Portuguese) [41] [Observador] (15 February 2019)
  68. ^ a b (in Portuguese) [42] (Jornal de Negócios) (credited to Jornal de Negócios, 2006)

External links[edit]