Former I.M.F. Leader Sentenced for Embezzlement

From New York Times, “Rodrigo Rato, a former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was convicted on Thursday on charges of misusing the funds of a Spanish bank that he led to near-collapse. He was sentenced to four and a half years in jail.

He was sentenced alongside 64 other Bankia directors and executives, who were accused of making unlawful credit card purchases that totaled 12.5 million euros, or $13.2 million, over a decade.

The conviction represents a drastic shift in his reputation. Once thought to be a potential Spanish prime minister, Mr. Rato had been finance minister in the conservative government of José María Aznar. In 2004, he left for Washington to take the helm of the I.M.F., winning the job because of his reputation for having presided over the early stages of Spain’s construction-led economic boom.

The following year, Mr. Rato and others were ordered to stand trial for misusing their credit card privileges from 2003 to 2012. They also stood accused of providing unauthorized company credit cards to dozens of board members and friends.

The cards were used for personal purchases that included clothing, restaurants and travel, as well as cash withdrawals. Some were also used to pay for golf, seats at the bullring and private parties.

At the time, the prosecution said Mr. Rato made illegal purchases of €54,800 while he led Bankia, while Mr. Blesa spent €436,700 with his corporate cards. Both eventually reimbursed the amounts.”

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