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Altice suspends employees amid criminal probe in Portugal

A communications tower in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Vitor Oliveira)
A communications tower in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Vitor Oliveira)

Altice International has suspended several executive-level employees amid a law enforcement probe over apparent fraud and collusion.

In a statement released on Thursday, officials at Altice said it had placed some of its legal representatives and senior managers on leave while the probe into some of its business practices in Portugal continues.

Officials at Altice say investigators “have identified that Altice Portugal has allegedly been defrauded as a result of harmful practices and misconduct of certain individuals and external entities.”

“As part of an ongoing investigation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Portugal, Altice Portugal has confirmed that it was one of the companies searched by the Portuguese authorities on July 13, 2023,” the statement continued. “The Portuguese prosecution authority clarified that its investigation related to harmful practices for which Altice Portugal and its subsidiaries are impacted and therefore victims of fraud by individuals.”

Altice said it is cooperating with police, and “and will remain available for any clarification in order to assist with the ongoing investigation.” It did not reveal which employees were placed on leave, or the number of workers affected by the move.

Earlier this week, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on the arrest of Altice co-founder Armando Pereira in connection with the criminal probe, which focuses on allegations of bribery and collusion concerning the telecom’s business in Portugal. Following the news, co-CEO Alexandre Fonseca announced he was stepping away from his daily role at the company. Fonseca, who is a target of the Portuguese investigation, also serves as the executive chairman of Altice U.S.

More than 90 homes and businesses were raided by law enforcement in Portugal and elsewhere last week in connection with the probe, according to news reports. On Thursday, Altice confirmed its Portugal offices were among the various locations searched by police.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).