August 7, 2013 / 11:56 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Portugal treasury secretary resigns after weeks in job

LISBON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Portugal’s new treasury secretary has resigned after just a few weeks in the role after media reports and opposition politicians questioned his previous role at Citigroup, he said on Wednesday.

“I took this difficult decision because I would never allow controversies surrounding my professional life, which I have never hidden, to be used as a political weapon against the government,” Joaquim Pais Jorge said in a statement.

“I am leaving the government because we have very serious problems associated with the economic and financial emergency we are in and which have to be resolved.”

Pais Jorge took office in July after the former treasury secretary, Maria Luis Albuquerque, was promoted to become finance minister. She replaced former Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar, who resigned, sparking a political crisis.

Local newspapers have scrutinised Pais Jorge’s role in the offering of swap contracts to Portugal’s previous government while he worked at Citigroup.

Pais Jorge denies any inappropriate involvement.

Swap contracts have been a hot topic in Portugal for several months after the government entered negotiations with banks to cut losses from such high-risk derivatives contracts sold to Portuguese state firms before the country’s debt crisis started in 2010.

“The news that has been made public in recent days, in which a presentation which is more than eight years old was falsified to include my name, show a level of political activity which I consider intolerable,” he said in the statement.

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