SPAIN: FORMER POLITICIAN, IMF HEAD, BANK PRESIDENT + CONVICTED EMBEZZLER RODRIGO RATO charged with money laundering
ABOVE + BELOW Rodrigo Rato – is a Spanish political figure who served in the government of Spain as Minister of the Economy from 1996 to 2004; a member of the conservative People’s Party (PP), he was also First Deputy Prime Minister from 2003 to 2004. Subsequently, he became Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and served from 2004 to 2007.
He left the IMF on 31 October 2007, after the World Bank-IMF annual meetings. He was president of Bankia between 3 December 2010 and until its bankruptcy 7 May 2012.
Rato was arrested on 16 April 2015 for alleged fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. His case was still awaiting trial a year later when his name appeared in the Panama Papers. Despite his prior assurances that he did not own companies in tax havens, apparently he used two offshore companies to avoid taxes on millions of euros kept overseas. It has been alleged that he owes taxes to both the Spanish and Panamanian governments.
On 23 February 2017, Rato was found guilty of embezzlement and sentenced to 4 ½ years’ imprisonment
“Accurate data was always available to the Tax Agency, which has preferred to ignore that in order to arrest me,” media quoted Rato as saying as he emerged from the court.
He denied laundering money through overseas shell companies, something that Spain’s Central Operation Unit of the Civil Guard police service have accused him of.
Rato insisted that the unit “has had to recognize” that despite months of investigation they had not been able to pin charges of tax fraud through foreign currency movements despite alleging the fraud “amounted to 8.5 million euros”.
Rato claimed that he had been subject to “false accusations” by a former Director of Spain’s Anti-fraud Office, Margarita García-Valdecasas and her team.
Rato, who looks set to face trial in November, had answered questions over his alleged ownership of companies domiciled abroad which he had allegedly used as shell companies.
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