* High Court orders trial for 4 former Bankia board members
* Clears Bank of Spain and regulator in long-running probe
By Jesús Aguado and Rodrigo De Miguel
MADRID, May 11 Former International Monetary
Fund chief Rodrigo Rato should stand trial over his role almost
six years ago in the ill-fated listing of Bankia, a
Spanish court spearheading a long-running investigation into the
case said on Thursday.
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 listed, wiping out its
The High Court said Rato, who was chairman of Bankia when
the initial public offering (IPO) took place in 2011, and 31
other people involved in the listing should stand trial for
failing to properly explain the bank's situation.
The court's recommendations on Thursday, after drawing a
five-year-long preliminary investigation to a close, are among
the last steps before formal trial proceedings.
The accused have a month to counter the court's proposal,
but it is unusual for a trial not to go ahead at this stage.
The court also recommended trial for Francisco Celma, a
partner at Deloitte in Spain, for signing off Bankia's accounts.
Rato's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
Bankia declined to comment, while Deloitte declined to comment
on Celma's behalf.
Rato, who was once economy minister in Spain and a prominent
figure in the ruling People's Party (PP) before moving to the
IMF, chaired Bankia for two years until just before its rescue.
He should be tried on charges of presenting false accounts
in 2010 and 2011 and of fraud, for including erroneous data in
Bankia's listing prospectus, the court said.
After restating its accounts in May 2012, Bankia announced
an almost 3 billion euro ($3.3 billion) loss for 2011, rather
than a 309 million euro profit.
The High Court opened a probe into the listing in 2012 after
a small political party brought a claim.
Rato was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison in February in a
separate scandal over the widespread misuse of company credit
cards during his tenure at Bankia. He has appealed against that
decision to the Supreme Court.
BANK OF SPAIN CLEARED
Investigating judge Fernando Andreu on Thursday cleared the
former governor of the Bank of Spain, Miguel Angel Fernandez
Ordonez, and the ex-head of the stock market regulator Julio
Segura of any criminal responsibility over Bankia.
The court said it deemed the central bank had not encouraged
Bankia to go public and did not participate in creating a "fake"
image of Bankia's solvency.
Bankia replaced its chairman and chief executive in 2012 and
has bounced back from the losses that triggered its rescue
following a property market crash.
The government said in December it planned to privatise the
bank, in which it has a 66 percent stake, before the end of
($1 = 0.9206 euros)
(Editing by Sarah White and Mark Potter)