Chief of IMF Rato Sentenced To Over Four Years Over Credit Card Scandal

Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato
Former International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato gets out of a car in front of his office in Madrid April 17, 2015. The home and office of Rato were searched on Thursday and continued on Friday as part of a tax and money laundering investigation into his personal wealth, Spanish judicial officials said, as cameras showed him being escorted from his home by police. Judicial officials will now decide on the basis of those documents whether suspicions of money laundering, fraud and asset stripping have any legal basis, the judicial source said. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

This week Rodrigo Rato, who headed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2004 to 2007 was found guilty of misappropriation of funds in a high-profile case that rocked Spain with many bankers blamed for its crisis being taken to court with high profile charges being made against them.

Rato, who was also a former finance minister with Spain’s ruling Popular Party (PP) and a former Caja Madrid chairman which is one of Spain biggest banks , is one of the 65 officials found guilty over their use of ‘black’ complimentary credit cards, which were handed out to dozens of officials at two of the struggling banks.

Also among those found guilty was fellow former Caja Madrid Miguel Blesa, who received a six-year sentence. The sentences for other defendants ranged from 4 months to six years.

From 1999 to 2012, former executives and board members at Caja Madrid, which later merged with other failed lenders to form Bankia, were given credit cards that drew money from essentially a private bank fund. What was found in a investigation was these credit card transactions did not show up on any bank statements or even any documents, nor tax returns.

The 65 defendants used these cards on all sorts of private and personal expenses which overall helped the bill to be worth over €15.5 million .Many menu del dia’s in the Spanish sun were had yachts, designer clothes and expensive holidays. They were npt shy it seemed

Some of the board members had previously claimed that their credit cards were a supplement because of their dedication to the bank, and that the Tax Agency was aware of their existence.

“They were not opaque and they were not black,” said the defense lawyer for Jesús Pedroche, a board member for the Popular Party (PP).