Rodrigo de Rato and Figaredo he was, for a decade, the man with the magic calculator. He came to the cabinet Jose Maria Aznar in 1996, after the first electoral victory of the Popular Party in general elections and after the "Go away, Mr. González" legislature. Under his leadership, unemployment in Spain was reduced by less than half, which the PP and its associates dubbed the "Spanish economic miracle." During those years, Aznar himself used another term to refer to the drop in unemployment during his two terms: the "silent revolution." In the last decade, however, courts and investigators have uncovered an even quieter revolution taking place behind the scenes and outside our borders: the heritage revolution of Rodrigo Ratofor which the Prosecutor's Office asks for 70 years in prison.
The term was used by José María Aznar in 2003 during a conference organized by the Wall Street Journal in London. "The great silent revolution that has taken place in Spain is that of employment," she explained. Since then she has appeared in the speeches of politicians of various stripes: in the Mariano Rajoy's speech during the 2014 State of the Union debate; when Teodoro Garcia Egea he opposed the pardons of the procés; or, more recently, when Minister Pilar Alegria presented the new Vocational Training model.
According to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, Rodrigo Rato's personal 'silent revolution' began in 1999, when he was a minister and vice president of the Government, and continued to develop when he was president of the International Monetary Fund, of Caja Madrid and also when he rang the bell that announced Bankia's ruinous but legal IPO. Revolution because, according to Anticorruption accounts, between 2005 and 2015 his assets increased by 15.6 million euros. Silent because part of the money was abroad and left more than 8.5 million owed to the public coffers.
Anti-corruption left it in writing in the accusation that he will defend during the trial that will take place at the Madrid Provincial Court: "Since 1999, Rodrigo Rato has kept a hidden patrimony from the Spanish Treasury, through various companies." Companies such as Red Rose Investment, Red Rose Financial, Westcastle Corporation or Vivaway, located where the Treasury, which he himself controlled, could not look: Ireland, Panama and the United Kingdom. From there began a ball of bank accounts in more blind spots of taxation: Bahamas, Switzerland, Luxembourg, United States, Kuwait, Curaçao and Monaco. An "operation unknown by the Public Treasury", says the Public Ministry.
Part of the money returned to Spain through "opaque accounts" and no less opaque financial "trusts". And it was also laundered with a miraculous and silent method known as the "Lombard credit": flexible financing lines to "clean up the illicit origin of the assets." For example, supposedly, buying, rehabilitating and starting up a hotel in Berlin. In November 2012, a few months after leaving Bankia, he took advantage of the tax amnesty put in place by the government of his party and paid 11,500 euros.
According to the Prosecutor's Office and the investigators, not even that movement was a sincere attempt to make peace with the public coffers. "In fact, he used the Special Tax Declaration as a vehicle for laundering or cleaning up the illicit defrauded fees that he had been dragging for years due to his foreign assets," says the indictment. Rato's magic calculator continued at full capacity while, in addition, he spent 99,000 euros with his 'black card' from Caja Madrid and continued the opaque payment system. A money that he returned before the trial in which he was convicted.
According to Anticorruption accounts, Rato defrauded just over 8.5 million euros between 2005 and 2015, his most prolific stage being after his departure from Bankia. As president of the entity, he also charged commissions "from the advertising contracts that the banking entity signed" with two companies that publicized Bankia's IPO, which ended in a rescue of more than 22,000 million euros of public money .
The same day of entry and registration in his office, Rato moved almost half a million euros "without being able to determine the final destination of that amount," says the Prosecutor's Office. Two days earlier he sold €380,000 worth of stock. That day he was arrested but he was not sent to pretrial detention. Seven years later, the Justice recognizes that it does not know where all its money is and keeps open separate pieces on its patrimony and civil responsibilities.
The economic miracles and silent revolutions in Rodrigo Rato's pocket have been in the hands of the courts for years. José María Aznar's economic guru has already spent time in jail for his firm sentence of four and a half years in prison for Caja Madrid's 'black cards'. In October 2020 He left Soto del Real prison with the third prison degree and a telematic bracelet after more than two years behind bars.
The Supreme Court and his final judgment They condemned Rato not only for spending almost 100,000 euros with his opaque card in restaurants, trips, clothing or withdrawing thousands of euros in cash from ATMs, but also for perpetuating the system that had established itself in Caja Madrid during the stage of Miguel Blesatoday deceased and also sentenced.
The sentence is clear as well as firm: "Rodrigo de Rato Figaredo maintained the same dynamic in all the aspects already exposed, attributing himself one without protection in his remuneration package." Under his command at Caja Madrid and Bankia, the directors spent, in total, almost 2.7 million euros.
Rodrigo Rato returned to the bench of the National Court at the end of 2018, this time for the Bankia IPO which he starred in with great enthusiasm in 2012, but came off with flying colors. The judges considered that the failure of the operation, which led to a rescue of public money of 22,000 euros, of which the State plans to recover less than half, was not illegal.
This sentence, pending finality by the Supreme Court for almost two years and which was not appealed by Anticorruption, endorsed the legality of the operation: it had the approval of the Bank of Spain and the rest of the supervisors, the judgment did not serve to clarify the specific acts of each manager and the brochures contained "wide and accurate" information. The Prosecutor's Office, which has not taken the case to the Supreme Court, even asked for eight and a half years for Rato.
His last front is open in the courts of Madrid and the trial still has no date. The Provincial Court of Madrid will study, judge and sentence the 'silent revolution' and prolific of its heritage. The former minister defends his innocence in his writings and public interventions while the Public Ministry asks for seven decades in prison for him. This week the 31st court in Madrid, which has been investigating the case for seven years, sent the 70,000 pages of the case to the court and he left everything ready to hold a trial in which he is attributed, among others, up to 11 tax crimes, another of corruption between individuals and another of money laundering.