April 14, 2021

Rato's defense reads his final plea on Tuesday at Bankia's trial

After reading the conclusions of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor in the trial for the IPO of Bankia – in which he added the crime of accounting falsehood to fraud to the investor for the former president of the entity, Rodrigo Rato -, on Tuesday his defense will respond to the Public Ministry.

Last Monday, the prosecutor Carmen Launa presented her final report and raised her petition for conviction for Rato to 8 and a half years in prison, endorsing the arguments of one of the popular accusations, that of the Inter-Trade Union Confederation of Credit (CIC).

In addition, he extended his accusation to ten defendants whom he did not address in principle, including former Minister Angel Acebes, since initially he only imputed Rato and three other people – José Luis Olivas, José Manuel Fernández Norniella and Francisco Verdú.

To all of them he attributes accounting falsehood in addition to scam to investors.

The decision of the Prosecutor's Office induced the President of the Chamber, Angela Murillo, to give more time to the defenses to prepare their allegations, which Rato's lawyer inaugurated on Tuesday.

Among the arguments put forward by Rato in his defense, before confirming that the Prosecutor's Office accuses him of accounting falsehood, he emphasizes that the entity's IPO, like the merger, was not a business decision, but a legal one, of which the Bank of Spain and the Government were totally supporters.

The former minister defended the 13,000 million in provisions that the entity was able to provide, higher than those recommended by public bodies, and that were made against reserves and not against the income statement, in accordance with accounting regulations.

Regarding Bankia's stock market debut, in July 2011, he stressed that they were in the hands of the regulator and the law, and has indicated that they had to carry out the operation in "very short" terms, as the Bank of Spain put of deadline the month of September.

After eight months of trial, up to six accusations, individual and popular, have modified their conclusions to adhere to the judgment of the prosecutor Carmen Launa, more severe with the bank managers, but also with the members of the audit committees.

Throughout the trial, the experts proposed by the defenses have reiterated that the entity made an exercise of "brutal" transparency on its IPO, in which it acted diligently to protect retail investors.

Different experts endorsed the quality of the data contained in the prospectus of the operation, including the risks and the accounts that were used in it, ruling out that they did not reflect the real situation or that the entity concealed damages not accounted for in the statements that it delivered to its shareholders.

They also referred to the informational brochure of the stock market debut, a document in which the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) was especially "demanding" and in which BFA-Bankia recognized its own weaknesses.

Another of the highlights in the interventions of the experts and defense lawyers has been the accounting that followed the seven boxes of the group at the time of its integration, which complied with the regulations since the system allowed the provision of provisions against Reservations.

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