Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato acquitted in Spain bank trial
01 Oct 2020

Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Rodrigo Rato was acquitted by a Spanish court on Tuesday of fraud charges and falsifying accounts, during the botched 2011 public listing of the major Spanish bank, Bankia.

The National Court of Justice in Madrid also acquitted 33 further people and entities — including Bankia — charged in the trial relating to the bank’s disastrous initial public offering (IPO).

Bankia initially reported a 2011 profit of €309 million ($361 million) but months later showed a €3 billion loss. More than 300,000 retail shareholders lost their investments when Bankia was nationalized by the Spanish government at the height of Spain’s financial crisis in 2012.

Rato, who always denied any wrongdoing, was chairman of the bank during this time. He resigned from the top position in May 2012.

The National Court, which handles major criminal cases ruled that the financial information included in Bankia’s IPO prospectus was accurate. There was enough information for the institutional and retail investors to form a reasoned opinion about the value of the bank and that any risks had been well flagged.

The bank’s stock listing had received approvals “from all necessary institutions,” ruled the court.

It also argued that the procedure which led to Bankia’s listing was “intensely and successfully supervised” by the Bank of Spain and financial market authorities which approved it.

Spain’s public prosecutor had sought an eight-and-a-half years jail sentence for Rato.

Read more at Deutsche Welle

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