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Former Spanish bank chief found dead


A senior Spanish banker who was facing jail for his hand in a credit card scandal has been found dead from a shotgun wound.The body of Miguel Blesa, who once led Spain’s oldest savings bank Caja Madrid, was found at a hunting lodge.He was one of a number of executives, including former International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato, who were sentenced over the scandal.Mr Blesa, 69, was facing six years in jail but had lodged an appeal.Spanish newspaper El País reports that the former banker was having breakfast with friends at the hunting lodge at Córdoba in southern Spain on Wednesday morning.According to the report, Mr Blesa told his friends he was going to the garage to move a car. He was later found dead from a shotgun wound to the chest.

Mr Blesa was regarded as a symbol of the excesses that led to the financial crisis. Board members and managers at Caja Madrid and later Bankia, which was formed by the merger of six Spanish savings banks, were each given so-called black credit cards, with which they could spend as much as they wanted. They ran up bills of 12m euros between 2003 and 2012.Before Bankia was bailed out by Spanish taxpayers in 2012, Mr Blesa spent 436,700 euros on his credit card, including 10,000 euros on wine as well as financing hunting trips to Africa. Pictures emerged of the former chairman showing off his spoils including a dead hippopotamus.Mr Blesa and Mr Rato were among a group of 65 people who were convicted of misappropriation of funds. Both Mr Blesa and Mr Rato appealed against the ruling.Last year, a Spanish court began an investigation into whether Caja Madrid had inflated the value of mortgages so it could issue bigger loans. The probe focused on Mr Blesa, former finance director Ildefonso Sanchez and two others.
Source: BBC