MADRID Feb 23 Former International Monetary
Fund chief Rodrigo Rato was sentenced to four and a half years
in prison for misusing company credit cards for personal
expenses while he worked at lender Bankia, a Spanish
court ruled on Thursday.
Rato - a one-time economy minister in Spain and once a
prominent figure in the ruling People's Party (PP) - was on
trial along with 64 other executives and former board members of
Bankia and its founding savings bank Caja Madrid.
After his tenure at the IMF, Rato chaired Bankia for two
years until just before its state bailout in 2012.
He was convicted of unlawful appropriation, the court said
in a written ruling, as was ex-Caja Madrid Chairman Miguel
Blesa, who was sentenced to six years jail time.
Rato had denied any wrongdoing, arguing the expenses he
accrued on the Bankia credit cards were legal.
(Reporting by Inmaculada Sanz, Writing by Sarah White, Editing
by Jesus Aguado)