Ex-IMF chief Rodrigo Rato gets 4.5 years for embezzlement

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Rodrigo Rato (centre). File photoImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Rodrigo Rato (centre) had denied any wrongdoing during the trial

Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for embezzling money from two Spanish banks he used to run.

A court in Madrid found him and more than 60 other former bankers guilty of using undeclared corporate credit cards to finance lavish lifestyles.

About €12m (£10.1m; $12.7m) was spent from Caja Madrid and Bankia in 2003-12. Rato, 67, had denied any wrongdoing.

Bankia was rescued in 2012 at huge public expense.

About 200,000 small-scale savers - who had been persuaded to convert their savings into shares before Bankia's flotation in 2011 - lost their money.

During the trial, Rato argued that the corporate credit cards were part of his pay package.

All the card purchases during that period were not declared to the tax authorities.

Rato resigned as head of Bankia shortly before its near-collapse in 2012.

He led the International Monetary Fund in 2004-07. Before that he served as Spain's economy minister.