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Former IMF head denies blame for the near-collapse of Bankia

Rodrigo Rato before the parliamentary committee.
Rodrigo Rato before the parliamentary committee. / Reuters
  • The ex-president of the bank was in combative mood before a committee of MPs investigating the cause of the financial crisis

The ex-president of Bankia, Rodrigo Rato, who was also once a government minister and head of the International Monetary Fund, appeared before a committee of MPs this week to explain his role in the crisis at the bank in 2012.

After a controversial flotation on the stock market and the pressure of the declining economy, the bank was rescued in 2012 with the help of the EU.

Making his eagerly awaited appearance on Tuesday, Rato was in combative mood, saying that it was the government that had driven Bankia to nationalisation.

Rato suggested that the regulator, the Bank of Spain, had been kept out of discussions with Bankia's competitors leading up to the bailout, saying that he believed the meetings had “been hidden”.

He went on to say that the shares of Bankia only collapsed in 2012 after finance minister, Luis de Guindos, forced him from his job as head of the bank.

Rato added that he was only accountable for the 4.6-billion-euro bailout initially requested to recapitalise and not the 19 billion euros that his successor went on to ask for.

De Guindos said on Tuesday that Bankia was now “well managed” and away from “political interference”.

Rato is also waiting to hear a Supreme Court decision over his alleged involvement in fraud at Bankia.