* High Court orders probe of eight current, former officials
* Bankia floated in 2011 but was nationalised in 2012
* Three Bank of Spain officials resign
(Adds comment from the Bank of Spain, CNMV)
By Jesús Aguado and Angus Berwick
MADRID, Feb 13 The Bank of Spain's former head
and seven other Spanish regulatory officials will be placed
under investigation over their roles in the ill-fated listing of
the now state-controlled bank Bankia, a court ruled on
The Bank of Spain said three of the eight - all top
officials from its supervisory and inspection units - would
resign on Tuesday because they did not want to affect the
central bank's functions while testifying as part of the
Bankia became a symbol of Spain's banking crisis when it was
nationalised in 2012 through a 22.5 billion euro ($25 billion)
bailout just a year after it was floated, wiping out its
shareholders and triggering lengthy legal action.
Spain's High Court said on Monday it would investigate
former Bank of Spain Governor Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez and
five other central bank officials.
Two top officials of the CNMV stock market regulator at the
time of the Bankia flotation - its former head Julio Segura and
his then deputy Fernando Restoy, who is now at the
Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements - were also
placed under investigation.
In the ruling, the High Court said there was evidence
linking the officials to "criminality", after investigators
studied emails from Bank of Spain inspectors who had warned
against giving Bankia the go-ahead to float.
"The emails' contents leave no doubt about the decisive
information the Bank of Spain's management had in advance about
(Bankia's) unviability and the fallacy of the results presented
by the inspection team of the Bank of Spain," the court said.
Investigating judge Fernando Andreu has now to formally
notify the former and current officials when they must appear in
court, a spokesman for Spain's High Court said.
Fernandez Ordonez stepped down a month before the end of his
six-year term as governor in 2012 at a time when a mounting pile
of toxic assets at Spanish banks threatened to push the country
into a bailout.
The Bank of Spain declined to comment on Fernandez Ordonez's
behalf and he could not immediately be contacted for comment.
The CNMV said it respected the court's ruling but was
convinced that the flotation was carried out correctly with
professionalism and diligence.
The Bank for International Settlements, which acts as a
forum for the world's major monetary authorities, did not
immediately reply to a request for comment regarding Restoy, who
chairs its Financial Stability Institute.
After restating its accounts in May 2012, Bankia revealed an
almost 3 billion euro loss for 2011.
Bankia replaced both its chairman and chief executive in
2012 and has bounced back from the losses that triggered its
nationalisation. The government said in December it plans to
privatise it before the end of 2019.
The Spanish state, which owns 66 percent of Bankia, created
it in 2010 by grouping together seven lenders which had been
toppled by the country's property market crash.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel; editing by David
Holmes and Adrian Croft)