The anti-austerity fraudster

Alasdair Fotheringham at NZ Herald reported:

As an ex-presidential consultant, a former adviser to the World Bank, a financial researcher for the United Nations and a professor in the US, Artur Baptista da Silva’s outspoken attacks on Portugal’s austerity cuts made the bespectacled 61-year-old one of the country’s leading pundits last year.

The only problem was that Baptista da Silva is none of the above.

He turned out to be a convicted forger with fake credentials and, following his spectacular hoodwinking of Portuguese society, he could soon face fraud charges.

So this media darling was never checked out, for over a year?

Here’s a sample article quoting him from Reuters:

Portugal needs to renegotiate its bailout package or risk social problems spinning out of control soon, a U.N.economist dealing with southern Europe told a local newspaper.

The Expresso weekly on Saturday cited Artur Baptista da Silva, coordinator of a group set up by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to monitor debt-ridden southern Europe, as saying Portugal’s bailout programme was yielding “very bad results” and some of its terms had to be changed.

The government and the lenders insist no change of terms is needed and that the programme is “well on track” towards reducing the public deficit. They rule out any need for debt renegotiation to avoid parallels with Greece’s crisis, which has already caused a debt writedown.

But Baptista da Silva said Portugal, which has slid into its worst recessionsince the 1970s after applying tough tax hikes and spending cuts dictated by last year’s bailout, doesn’t have much time.

“If it’s not negotiated now, then in six months’ time, we’d have to do it on our knees. All the projections that we’ve done for the economy, debt, unemployment leads us to believe that Portugal will be in serious difficulties in terms of social control in half a year,” he warned.

He said as many as 2 million Portuguese out of 10.6 million were living below the poverty line, surviving on less than 7 euros a day. Unemployment is at record highs of over 16 percent and social strife has grown in the past few months.

The proposed renegotiation would save Portugal 10 billion euros ($13.1 billion), according to the economist.

Hilarious that they made him into the leading spokesperson against austerity, and took a year for someone to find out he was a con artist.

Comments (10)

Login to comment or vote