Spain’s Bob Diamond is Rodrigo Rato. The difference is, Rato is heading for jail

Spain’s anti-bank majority is celebrating a major victory after the country’s high court opened a criminal investigation into Rodrigo Rato, the former head of Spain’s biggest mortgage lender, Bankia. Rato, once a big wheel within the IMF, has been given a court date to face criminal fraud accusations relating to the downfall of Bankia, the banking giant at the epicentre of Spain’s economic disaster.

Rodrigo Rato, once a powerful economic minister, has suffered a cliff-fall from grace.  An internationally respected official and still well-regarded inside Rajoy’s ruling centre-right People’s Party, Rato has become the focus of  public anger about banking practices and recklessness.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy forced Rato, 63, to quit Bankia seven weeks ago, just before the bank was nationalised and became the biggest-ever failed Spanish lender. On May 10th this year, The Slog posted:

‘Sources in troubled Spanish bank Bankia confirmed yesterday that auditors Deloittes had discovered what they called ‘an inflated statement of liquidity’ for 2011 in the Caja division of the Group. Its shares dropped 6 percent on the news, its third straight day of heavy losses. This can only add to the woes of the bank, which are considerable already. But it also adds to the suspicion (noted here and elsewhere since late 2010) about the veracity of reporting in the Spanish finance sector. The Slog’s view – based on local information – has always been that both the level of unsold property and the degree of arrears there are hugely understated.’

Clearly, senor Rato is seen as having been very deeply involved in such optimistic reporting. He will not be getting worldwide TV coverage while filibustering with an onanistic Parliamentary Committee, however: more than likely, he will be sewing Spanish onion-bags before too long.