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Ex-IMF chief targeted in Caja Madrid credit card investigation

Rodrigo Rato headed savings bank while officials allegedly abused opaque company funds

Rodrigo Rato (left) and Miguel Blesa are being investigated by the High Court.
Rodrigo Rato (left) and Miguel Blesa are being investigated by the High Court.

Three former top executives at the Caja Madrid savings bank are being targeted by Spain’s High Court in an investigation into €15.5 million in company funds that were spent using undeclared credit cards.

One of the ex-bank officials under scrutiny is Rodrigo Rato, a senior Popular Party (PP) official who headed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) between 2004 and 2007. Rato was chairman of Caja Madrid and of Bankia, the lender that was created from the merger of Caja Madrid and six other savings banks.

The other two targets of the investigation are former chairman Miguel Blesa and former general director Ildefonso Sánchez Barcoj.

The scandal of the company credit cards used for personal expenses by 86 executives and board members between 2003 and 2012 has already triggered the dismissal or resignation of a dozen people since the news broke a week ago.

The scandal has already triggered the dismissal or resignation of a dozen public figures

High Court judge Fernando Andreu, who is already investigating Caja Madrid for its sale of preferred shares to customers who subsequently lost most of their investment, has added the credit card case as a separate offshoot in the investigation.

All three men will testify before Andreu on October 16.

Bank documents show that Ildefonso Sánchez Barcoj tops the list of credit card users, with €484,200 spent on alleged representation expenses.

Since the scandal broke, the Spanish Tax Agency has also announced an investigation into the way all companies listed on the Ibex 35 index handle their representation expenses.

The Popular Party (PP) announced on Tuesday that it will investigate its members who sat on the boards of Caja Madrid or Bankia and used the credit cards. The Socialists earlier announced an investigation of their own people in the same situation.