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Spain court confirms 4.5-year jail term for ex-IMF chief Rato

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Rodrigo Rato was found guilty by the Madrid-based National Court of paying for personal expenses with credit cards put at his disposal when he was the boss of Caja Madrid and Bankia.

Madrid

SPAIN'S Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato's jail sentence of four years and six months for misusing funds, which is expected to see him enter prison soon.

In February 2017, Rato was found guilty by the Madrid-based National Court of paying for personal expenses with credit cards put at his disposal when he was the boss of Caja Madrid and Bankia, at a time when both banks were having difficulties.

The 69-year-old, who is also a former Spanish economy minister, had since then been free on bail pending an appeal.

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The case caused outrage in Spain, where it was uncovered at the height of a severe economic crisis that left many people struggling financially - made all the worse because Bankia later had to be nationalised.

Rato had been on trial with 64 other former executives and board members at both banks accused of misusing a total of 12 million euros (S$19 million) between 2003 and 2012 in personal expenses.

These included petrol for their cars, supermarket shopping, pricey holidays, luxury bags or parties in nightclubs.

One of the executives, Miguel Blesa - Rato's predecessor at Caja Madrid - was sentenced to six years in jail.

In July 2017, Blesa was found dead with a gunshot wound to his chest at a private hunting estate in southern Spain. An autopsy ruled it was suicide. AFP