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Spain prosecutors eye 70 years for ex-IMF chief Rato

·1-min read
Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato, seen here in 2015, is serving a 4.5-year sentence for misuse of funds

Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato, already serving time for misuse of funds, was on Tuesday charged with a string of new crimes including tax fraud and money laundering, with Spanish prosecutors seeking a 70-year jail term.

The scandal-hit 72-year-old was charged with 11 new offences which took place while he was economy minister in the government of Jose Maria Aznar (1996-2004), prosecutors said in a statement.

Rato, who also served as deputy prime minister before going on to head the IMF from 2004-2007, was sentenced to 4.5 years in 2018 but was recently moved to a semi-open prison regime.

Prosecutors believe the former executive hid a total of 8.5 million euros ($10 million) from the Spanish tax authorities between 2005 and 2015, for which they want him jailed for 53 years.

They allege he used companies based in Ireland, Panama and the United Kingdom to carry out "ongoing investment activities through a host of bank accounts in the Bahamas, Luxembourg, the UK, Switzerland and Monaco" among others.

In September, Rato was acquitted in another case of fraud and falsifying the books during the 2011 flotation of Spain's Bankia, which he headed at the time but which later became a symbol of the country's banking crisis.

emi/hmw/tgb