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Ex-IMF boss Rato blames Bank of Spain in Bankia trial

Reuters  |  MADRID 

(Reuters) - blamed the of Spain for mishandling the creation of on Tuesday at a trial in which the former and three other ex- board members of the Spanish lender are accused of fraud.

Rato, who denies any wrongdoing, was Bankia's at the time of a merger of seven unlisted regional banks to form in 2010 and its ill-fated 2011 initial public offering.

Less than a year after the 3.1-billion-euro ($3.6 billion) IPO, reported a 3 billion euro loss, prompting a 22.5 billion euro state bailout and its nationalisation.

"The of Spain clearly indicated to us the steps that we had to take. I don't remember that they gave us many options," Rato said of the consolidation process during his first comments at the trial, which is expected to last for months.

More than 30 executives of the and its parent company de Ahorros (BFA) are expected to give evidence.

The was not immediately available for comment on the testimony by Rato, who resigned from Bankia in 2012 and is already serving a 4-1/2 year prison term for embezzlement.

He has always denied any wrongdoing at Bankia, whose collapse wiped out the savings of more than 300,000

A small Spanish political party, UPyD, forced more than six years ago to open a criminal investigation into whether Rato and other Bankia bosses were guilty of fraud, price-fixing or falsifying accounts.

Rato could face up to five years in jail if found guilty.

($1 = 0.8736 euros)

(Reporting by Paul Day, editing by Andrei Khalip and Alexander Smith)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 20:59 IST