Spain Sets Massive Precedent – Charges Its Central Bankers in Court

Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Bankers & Wall St., Corruption, Government, Politics with 0 Comments
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First, Iceland, and now Spain has taken on the Big Bankers responsible for financial calamity, as the country’s highest national court charged the former head of Spain’s central bank, a market regulator, and five other banking officials over a failed bank leading to the loss of millions of euros for smaller investors.

Claire Bernish | Humans Are Free

This, of course, markedly departs from the mammoth taxpayer giveaway — commonly referred to as the bailout — approved by the U.S. government ostensively to “save” the Big Banks and, albeit unstated, allow the enormous institutions to continue bilking customers without the slightest fear of penalty.

Errant bankers and financiers, it would seem, typically manage to either evade actually being charged or escape hefty fines and time behind bars.

Spain’s Supreme Court last year ruled “serious inaccuracies” in information about the listing led investors to back Bankia in error, thus the bank has since paid out millions of euros in compensation.

But Spanish authorities could not abide the telling findings of a yearlong investigation into the failed listing, as Wolf Street explains:

“As part of the epic, multi-year criminal investigation into the doomed IPO of Spain’s Franken bank Bankia – which had been assembled from the festering corpses of seven already defunct saving banks – Spain’s national court called to testify six current and former directors of the Bank of Spain, including its former governor, Miguel Ángel Fernández Ordóñez, and its former deputy governor (and current head of the Bank of International Settlements’ Financial Stability Institute), Fernando Restoy.

“It also summoned for questioning Julio Segura, the former president of Spain’s financial markets regulator, the CNMV [National Securities Market Commission] (the Spanish equivalent of the SEC in the US).

“The six central bankers and one financial regulator stand accused of authorizing the public launch of Bankia in 2011 despite repeated warnings from the Bank of Spain’s own team of inspectors that the banking group was ‘unviable.’”

As AFP reports:

“The National Court validated conclusions made by prosecutors who concluded that when ‘an unviable entity has been listed on the stock market, its administrators or auditor should not shoulder all the responsibility.’”

Specifics of the charges have not yet been made apparent, but as The Economist reports:

“The court is questioning why they allowed Bankia to sell shares in an initial public offering in 2011, less than a year before Bankia’s portfolio of bad mortgage loans forced the government to seize control of it.

“It said there was evidence the regulators had ‘full and thorough knowledge’ of Bankia’s plight. After its nationalization, it went on to report a €19.2bn ($24.7bn) loss for 2012, the largest in Spanish corporate history.”

Internal emails and documents played a crucial role in ultimately bringing the central banking officials to task for the failure of Bankia — inspectors bringing issues to the attention of superiors were allegedly ignored. One email cited by the Economist came from an inspector who warned Bankia was “a money-losing machine,” for which an IPO would not solve.

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