"Rodrigo, you are the collateral victim," Cristóbal Montoro tells Rato on Sunday, May 6 at five in the afternoon, before the meeting at the Ministry of Economy in which he will be executed.
Luis de Guindos calls his office on Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid to the bankers on Sunday, April 8, Friday, May 4 and Sunday, May 6, 2012. Emilio Botín, president of Banco Santander; Francisco González, of BBVA and Isidro Fainé by La Caixa. On Saturday, May 5, after reuniting his team, Rato travels to Florence to an investor meeting organized by the Union of Swiss Banks (UBS). On Sunday, May 6, he returns to Madrid early in the afternoon.
On the way from the airport to his home, in the Salamanca district, the president of Bankia calls the Minister of Finance, Cristóbal Montoro.
He remembers it like this:
He had called Montoro. I say: "Hey, Christopher, I'm going to a meeting with Luis. Tell me if you know how things are ». I remember perfectly. I am entering through Avenida de América and before going down through María de Molina, Montoro tells me: «You are a collateral victim».
It's approximately between five and six in the afternoon when he told me those words. The truth is that it affected me, it pissed me off. It seems that there had been a meeting with Rajoy, Montoro, Luis and perhaps Álvaro Nadal and Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, where the Minister of Economy anticipated his plan regarding my situation. I arrived home, I stayed a moment and at eight o'clock I went to the ministry.
On Sunday, May 6, De Guindos makes an introduction to Rato, González, Botín and Fainé. The risk premium continues to press and De Guindos talks about the role of banks with public debt. Botín says that a lot of money is being lost, that the stock is falling. De Guindos gives the floor to Rato to explain his plan. He insists on the 7,000 million that McKinsey figures with the macroeconomic scenarios of stress. The scene of almost a month ago is repeated on Sunday, April 8, because Francisco González expresses his disagreement with Rato.
Here is how the former president of Bankia remembers:
González returns to the figure of 15,000 million. I say: "You are getting me the provisions of all the SMEs, the tax credits. You also have tax credits and Sabadell has them, why do I have to do it? " I defend myself as I can. While on April 8 Emilio Botín had supported González, this Sunday, May 6, although he agrees with him, he intervenes little, especially because, he says, the situation is dramatic. Isidro said practically nothing. The one who acts as a battering ram is Paco González. He was very obsessed with the intervention of the Royal Bank of Scotland in October 2008. It is a good solution because then markets calm down, he explains. And then he turns to me and says:
-You have to go because you're from PP.
His argument is that there can be no help from the PP government to a bank whose president is from the PP.
The minister already had a report that spoke of 15,000 million. It was not yet official, but the Goldman Sachs business bank was already working for De Guindos.
Here is the version of the then minister about the meeting on Sunday 6:
The meeting ended at 10 pm and when I was about to leave, he called me Rato and asked to see me again, this time alone. I explain that the situation has reached a limit and that preferred shares should be converted into the hands of the FROB (4,456 million injected in the merger with Bancaja) into capital. He replies that this would mean the nationalization of the entity and, then, suggests that he is thinking of resigning. The next day, Monday, May 7, he calls me from the car on his way to La Moncloa to tell me that he was going to present the resignation to the President of the Government. He asks me to talk to José Ignacio Goirigolzarri because, before accepting, he wants the government to give his approval to his replacement at the Bankia front.
The version of Rato is different:
Luis throws me out after a conversation with my three competitors. You see how things are, you have to go, he says. I'm leaving, well, I answer. We're going to help you, Rodrigo, he says. There is the presidency of Repsol. I say no, look Luis, no, and I get even more angry. I ask him how he wants me to make the resignation. In my head I thought we should go to the general meeting in two weeks, present José Ignacio Goirigolzarri as vice president, do it in an orderly manner. He enters as executive vice president, I stay in a vase and after months I get out of the way. But Luis did not want to do it in an orderly manner and Goiri wanted to end the participation of the boxes in Bankia.
Rato calls Rajoy that night and succeeds, after insisting, according to his words, on the seriousness of the situation – since he is about to resign – that he will receive him the following morning:
I'm going to see Rajoy because I want Rajoy to shoot me. I mean, Luis is not going to kick me out. A little, the truth, I force the President of the Government to receive me. And he says yes, that he goes in the morning of Monday, May 7 to La Moncloa. I knew that Rajoy was not going to open his face. I tell Mariano: "Luis told me to leave." He did not answer me in a concrete way, but because of the sounds of his voice and his attitude, well, it was clear that he was throwing me out. I wanted that, that Rajoy would certify me. I had not trusted Luis for a long time. What he did not want was for him to say to Rajoy: "Look, Rodrigo has wanted to go."
I wanted it to be clear that the government was throwing me out.
After leaving La Moncloa, Rato called the minister:
Luis, how do you want us to do this? He told me to talk to Goirigolzarri. I called Goiri. He tells me he does not know anything. «I have not talked to the minister», he clarifies. Goiri wanted to sell me the bike that he had never talked to Luis. I did not believe him, but it does not matter anymore. I do not remember if it was on the first or second call when I said to Luis: «How do we do? If we go to the general meeting scheduled for fifteen days, I present Goiri before the board and I leave. He says: "No, no, Rodrigo. It has to be already ». "Well, so be it," I say. I think Goiri called Luis and they fixed it. That Monday afternoon I received it, we took the photo, I proposed its appointment and the board of directors approved it on Wednesday, May 9, 2012.
The black book How the Bank of Spain failed the citizens
By Ernesto Ekaizer
Editorial Espasa. 674 pages, 19.9 euros.