Spain judge summons ex-IMF head in credit card scandal

8th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish judge Wednesday summoned ex-IMF head Rodrigo Rato for questioning over allegations that he and other former banking executives went on spending sprees with company credit cards, a judicial source said.

Audit documents submitted by prosecutors to Spain's National Court, revealed last week, detailed a total of 15.2 million euros ($19.2 million) of spending by former managers of the bailed-out group Bankia.

A string of Spanish officials resigned last week over the scandal. Rato, who is alleged to have spent 54,800 euros, has not reacted publicly to the allegations.

Judge Fernando Andreu summoned Rato to appear at Spain's National Court on October 16 for questioning with a view to possible charges, said a judicial source who asked not to be named.

The judge also summoned Miguel Blesa, the former head of Caja Madrid which is part of the Bankia group, and Caja Madrid's former financial director Ildefonso Sanchez, the source said.

In the latest high-profile resignation, Rafael Spottorno, who was head of Spain's royal household under the former King Juan Carlos and then an adviser to the current King Felipe VI, quit the latter post, a palace spokesman said.

Spottorno was formerly a manager at a benevolent foundation run by Caja Madrid. He was named in the court documents as one of those alleged to have racked up personal expenses with a company credit card.

The near collapse of Bankia in 2012 caused thousands of customers to lose their savings and pushed Spain to seek a 41 billion euro international bailout for its financial sector.

The documents, which contain findings of an internal audit of the company, indicate spending on non-work-related hotels, restaurants and trips by former directors of Caja Madrid.

Former economy minister Rato is one of the best-known financial figures in Spain and a prominent figure in the ruling conservative Popular Party.

He 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 from 2010.

Rato was chief executive of Caja Madrid and held the top post at Bankia from 2010 to 2012.

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© 2014 AFP

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