Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rodrigo Rato, Ex-IMF head, in Spanish court over credit card scandal

"Ex-IMF head Rodrigo Rato went before a judge Thursday over allegations that he and other former executives at a bailed-out Spanish bank went on lavish spending sprees with company credit cards.
The 65-year-old went to court along with two other former executives for questioning by a judge investigating Bankia, the group whose near-collapse sparked a 41-billion-euro ($52 billion) bailout for Spain's financial sector.
The three were met by yells of "
'Thieves!' from protesters who say they lost their savings when Bankia collapsed in 2012.
Audit documents submitted by prosecutors to the court detailed a total of more than 15 million euros of suspect spending with credit cards by former managers of the group, which Rato headed from 2010 to 2012.
Prosecutors said the credit cards were used for personal purchases with media reports detailing spending on safaris, meals at luxury restaurants, art, clothing and massive cash withdrawals.
Rato made no comment as he arrived shortly before 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) at the National Court, Spain's top criminal tribunal, for questioning by Judge Fernando Abreu.

Rato served from 2004 to 2007 as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, the worldwide lender that played a key role in tackling the eurozone debt crisis.
He was finance minister in Jose Maria Aznar's conservative government, which was in office from 1996 to 2004, and served as chief executive of Caja Madrid before holding the top post at Bankia until shortly before it was rescued by the Spanish government in 2012.
The scandal has fuelled indignation in Spain, where one in four workers are unemployed, ahead of a general election expected by the end of next year."


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