The ex-Counselor of Bankia Francisco Javier López Madrid threw in irony to underline the same idea that the directors of Bankia and BFA have been repeating that have been parading through the bench of the Audiencia Nacional in the trial for the IPO of the entity: that none of them even remotely suspected that the accounts could have a problem when they approved them. "That I'm an idiot is obvious because I'm here," said López Madrid almost at the end of his interrogation. "But I'm more stupid to invest 20 million knowing that the accounts were false."
López Madrid was the CEO of "a family group" (the Villar Mir Group), at the same time a Bankia director, and as such he decided to invest 20 million euros when the entity went public in the summer of 2011 through OHL, Fertiberia and Ferroatlántica. As he himself undertook to underline, he lost everything. "As an institutional investor they have not returned them to me," he said. The small shareholders could claim the losses of the Bankia fiasco. "I could have sold the next day, if someone tells me that the accounts are wrong, why do not I sell?" He insisted, this time with a rhetorical question included.
López Madrid was the last of the eight BFA and Bankia directors to testify Tuesday before the court chaired by Judge Ángela Murillo, who has already chaired the judgment of the cards black who condemned several of them– and, like the rest, insisted that the accounts that came to the board of directors to be approved could not be different from the results of the semesters that were presented. "The surprising thing is that they would have shown us something different," he stressed.
Both the BFA advisors who declared this Tuesday (Rafael Ferrando, Ricardo Romero de Tejada, Angel Villanueva and Jesus Pedroche) and those who did yesterday said that nothing made them suspect that there could be irregularities or qualifications neither in the 2010 accounts nor in the those of 2011. The latter were sent on April 30, 2012 – the last day – to the CNMV without the Deloitte audit report. The board members assured that during the March 28th board meeting they explained that the audit report was not available because it was being finalized and that there would be no qualifications.
Jesus Pedroche explained that the counselors received an email from the secretary general of the entity on that date, Miguel Crespo, in which he said: "The auditor has asked me for time and the work continues as normal," he said to questions of your lawyer. Both Pedroche and the other defendants accepted their right to answer only the questions of their lawyer. All of them face penalties of up to 12 years in prison for alleged accounting falsehood and swindling investors who ask them for private and popular accusations. The Office of the Prosecutor only accuses four former directors.
Cherry Sessions with the competition
In addition to the BFA advisers, on Tuesday they also declared some of Bankia, such as José Antonio Moral Santín, who is currently serving a four-year prison sentence for the cards black. Moral Santín criticized the opacity of the meetings that preceded the departure of Rodrigo Rato from the Bankia presidency. In particular, he described as "unprecedented" and "worrying" that the then Minister of Economy, Luis de Guindos, met with Rato and the four bankers of the competition in secret, something that Rato himself recounted during his interrogation at the trial. "There are no minutes of these meetings," he said, nor records in the Ministry of Economy. Moral Santín said he heard about Rato's resignation "over the radio".
Arturo Fernández, first advisor of BFA and then of Bankia, stressed that his position was never executive and that the directors did not enter to analyze the specific items of the accounts of the entity. "We saw that everything was correct and transparent and we approved them," he summarized. Fernández combined Bankia with the presidency of the CEIM employers' association and that of its group of companies. When asked by his lawyer, who kept a very short interrogation, Fernandez said that the council never discussed any games and that no one informed them that the accounts had any problems. "Everything was explained, it was assumed that everything was in perfect condition," he added.
José Manuel Serra Peris, a director of Bankia (formerly also of BFA), said that the council that approved the 2010 accounts recalls its "brevity" and pointed out that it is incredible that the expert reports considered the accounts of the integration of the seven boxes that gave rise to Bankia. "There can be no falsehood," he repeated twice. "Since the write-downs were counted against reserves there is no doubt, it was recorded in the report," he said. "All the data was good and there was no other data," he added. Serra said that the "unbelief" of the facts of those who accuse him generates defenselessness and ended his interrogation saying that he opposed the reorganization plan of the entity and recorded his discrepancy in the minutes. "It was going to sink the entity," he said.