Let's travel to May 2012, in the prelude to the worst summer of the Spanish economy, when the country looked out over the precipice. The snowball of the savings bank crisis threatened the whole economy and something had to be done. Rodrigo Rato, the then president of Bankia, resigns on May 7, an entity that encompassed seven savings banks, some of the most problematic such as Bancaja and Caja Madrid. The Government of Rajoy had just approved a new plan of sanitation and opened the door to inject public money to the boxes. 48 hours later, on May 9, the Executive acted: nationalized Bankia to save it, and the rest is known.
More than six years later, Rato has assured this Wednesday that his departure was forced by Mariano Rajoy, the then president of the Government. "I was thrown out by the President of the Government, it was a political intervention", said Rato in the second session of his statement as defendant in the trial for the IPO, which is becoming a real public autopsy on the crisis. "It was an absolutely political decision," Rato criticized his forced resignation.
It is not the first time that the former president of Caja Madrid and Bankia, who yesterday in the first interrogation session he shielded his management of the entity in the Bank of Spain, the FROB, the Government and even the technicians of the entity, attributed to the popular executive, and specifically to former Minister of Economy Luis de Guindos, its resounding exit from the bank, which occurred after auditor Deloitte refused to sign the 2011 group's accounts, triggering the nationalization of the bank.
That intervention – the decision that the State controlled the funds through the Frob, under the Ministry of Economy – hurt, according to Rato, the savings banks. "With the clear intervention that the boxes lost," said the defendant, who faces five years in prison in this case for a crime of swindling investors. Rato is already incarcerated for the case of black cards and is transferred every day to the National Court from the prison of Soto del Real.
The second session of the declaration of the former Vice President of the Government with the Popular Party has continued to delve into the technical aspects of the Bankia IPO and the share price with which the entity jumped into the market. Rato insists that the stock market operation was the only exit Bankia had after the measure approved by the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, which imposed capital requirements on the funds that in practice forced entities like Bankia to go public so that They could expand their capital. "It is a change of scenario that does not respond to an autonomous strategy of the entity, not even the regulator, is a decision of the Congress of Deputies and the driver of the measure: the Government", Rato has again argued to questions from the prosecutor of the case.
According to Rato, that movement was promoted by the Bank of Spain, which urged them to jump into the market before September 2011, even before what the law stated. "The regulator was looking for the boxes to get out of this anomalous situation of not having capital, and I honestly shared it," he said. He has defended that the effort of the former directors of the entity -which needed to be finally rescued with 22,424 million euros of public money- focused on the business plan of Bankia, "which was what it would be worth in the future", has said.