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The central bank, the Lisbon stock exchange and Portugal's attorney general are all investigating how Salgado juggled money between the various family businesses and whether he misled regulators and investors. Angolan officials say they have identified "irregular operations and bad debts" at Banco Espirito Santo Angola.

´╗┐Bank scandal tarnishes powerful family

In financial circles, Salgado was known by the acronym DDT "Dono Disto Tudo," which roughly translates as "Owner of all he surveys". He has long been regarded as one of Portugal's most powerful men.

His powerful position at the head of the country's biggest bank gave him political influence: he was consulted by Portuguese presidents and prime ministers; he provided loans for public works that won votes; and he Nike Sneakers Girls gave retired politicians jobs as consultants. Senior bank executives have sat in Portuguese governments.

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The scandal bears the hallmarks of the recent European financial crisis, and the difficulties at BES for years Portugal's largest private bank sent a shiver through global markets as investors feared Europe's closet contained more skeletons. Portugal was one of the main casualties of the eurozone's debt woes when it needed a 78 billion euros ($A116.99 billion) bailout in 2011 to avoid bankruptcy.

Dozens of senior members of the Espirito Santo family, which has for generations sat at the same table as royalty and top international financiers, stand to lose heavily and maybe ll they have.

an audit found "serious" accounting irregularities at Luxembourg based Espirito Santo International SA, one of the holding companies through which the Espirito Santo family owns its assets, including a stake in the bank. Salgado blamed the company accountant. But media reports began documenting financial shortfalls at another two holding companies, which then conceded they also were unable to pay money they owed. All three are now insolvent, which could result in a fire sale of the assets they hold, wiping out the family's riches.

Ricardo Esprito Santo Salgado, 70, the great grandson of the founder, got the bank's top job in 1992. He cultivated an air of sombre elegance and distinction. He valued discretion and behind the scenes deal making.

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Novo Banco will be controlled by the Resolution Fund set up by Portugal's banks as part of the conditions for a 2012 national bailout by the troika of the European Union (EU), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB).

The storm broke in May when Nike Shoes Latest

In intervening to deal with the ailing bank, which also has recorded first half losses of 3.57 billion euros, the Lisbon government hopes to avoid contamination throughout its fragile economy and into the wider eurozone.

The Espirito Santo family's financial business began in 19th century Nike Shoes Blue

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Costa has told MPs that private investors are ready to step in but he has not identified them.

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Lisbon. Portugal was neutral in World War II, and the Espirito Santo's bank offered a harbour for European private fortunes. The Espirito Santos were close advisers to Antonio Salazar, who ran Portugal as a dictatorship for four decades from the 1930s. After a 1974 army coup toppled the dictatorship and brought a left wing backlash, the bank's board was jailed for three months for being prominent capitalists. Following their release without Shoes Nike For Girls Blue

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The spotlight has fallen on Ricardo Espirito Santo Salgado, the family patriarch and, until recently, chief executive of the bank it controlled. After questioning by an investigating magistrate, he was released on three million euros bail.

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BES' sudden difficulties have turned out not to be systemic, however. At their root, it seems, is one man's hubris.

"It's shocking now" said Antonio Barroso, an analyst with Teneo Intelligence, a political and business risk consulting firm in London, "but when you look back it makes sense". The sometimes close connections in southern Europe among banks, politicians and public institutions discourage transparency a feature exposed by the recent crisis, Barroso noted.

Regulators say BES account holders won't lose their money, though investors including Banco Espirito Santo who lent money to other businesses controlled by the family may not get all theirs back.

charge, the executives fled through neighbouring Spain and set about rebuilding their wealth abroad. After Portugal joined what is now the EU in 1986, the government handed back to the Espirito Santo family the bank and insurance company nationalised after the coup.

The family has already surrendered its places on the board of the bank. The family's three holding companies, unable to repay debt built up by the tourism to farming to healthcare empire, have sought legal protection from creditors. Politicians, who once could be counted on to support the well connected family, are mindful of the public mood after years of austerity and are demanding justice.

The full scale of the Espirito Santo Group's financial problems will likely take some time to emerge.

The country's third largest banking group will be split into two entities, with its toxic assets isolated in a "bad bank" and its healthier assets regrouped in a new bank called simply Novo Banco, Costa said.

Suddenly, he is an isolated figure.

While Salgado could face prison time, hundreds of other family members who have long lived off the company's success may lose everything including the family's good name.

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PORTUGAL will inject 4.4 billion euros ($A6.60 billion) into the crisis hit Banco Espirito Santo (BES), central bank governor Carlos Costa has said, amid fears of a catastrophic bank run.

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