A former director of the banking giant whose implosion forced Spain to seek a 100 billion bank bailout has admitted she doesn’t know anything about finance.November 08, 2012 10:30AM Graham Keeley The Times
Mercedes Rojo-Izquierdo, a former adviser to the regional government of Madrid, which is run by the ruling Popular Party, appeared as a witness before the National Criminal Court in Madrid, which is investigating alleged mismanagement in Bankia.
The judge is examining claims of falsification of accounts, false administration, misappropriation of funds and price-fixing.
Ms Rojo, who was paid a total of €374,000 by Bankia in 2011, told the court she had qualifications in chemistry, not finance.
When Bankia’s accounts for 2011 were presented, Ms Rojo told the court she “didn’t understand anything”.
Ms Rojo joined the Bankia board in December 2010, when the lender was formed from the fusion of seven regional savings banks. Before that, she had been on the board of Caja Madrid, one of the country’s biggest savings banks, since 2006.
Bankia’s board was filled with appointees with a political background. Other Bankia executives included Angel Acebes, a former Interior Minister in the centre-right government of Jose Maria Aznar, and Jose Luis Olivas, the former president of Bancaja, one of Spain’s biggest savings banks.
Spain’s centre-right government has slashed public services to reduce the country’s deficit and provoked fury when it appeared willing to save Bankia with €19bn of public funds.
Rodrigo Rato, the former International Monetary Fund managing director and one-time Bankia chairman, is among 33 former directors summoned by Judge Fernando Andreu in a case that has sparked widespread public anger in Spain.
Bankia, now the fourth-largest bank in Spain, was nationalised in May.
In June, Spain sought the €100bn bailout and has begun to implement the conditions of the agreement, but is yet to receive any cash from the European rescue fund.