Ex-Spanished banker to go back to jail

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Caja Madrid Reuters. A sticker is seen on an ATM machine of a Bankia-Caja Madrid bank branch.

Madrid - An investigative judge Wednesday ordered the redetention of the first banker arrested on charges related to Spain's financial crisis.

An arrest warrant was issued for Miguel Blesa, 65, former chairman of the bank Caja Madrid, the EFE news agency reported, citing judicial sources.

Blesa had been released on bail of 2.5 million euros (3.2 million dollars) last month a day after being arrested in irregularities relating to the 2008 purchase of the City Bank of Florida in a deal worth nearly 800 million euros.

Judge Elpidio Jose Silva suspected Blesa acquired the bank for twice its value and that his management contributed to losses worth 500 million euros, leading to the collapse of Caja Madrid.

Blesa headed the chain of regional savings banks, which was Spain's fourth biggest financial institution, from 1996 to 2010.

He asserted he did not act alone because the bank's supervisory board unanimously backed the City Bank of Florida deal.

SpainFlag A Spanish flag flutters in the wind near a statue of Columbus in Madrid. REUTERS

He is seen as a symbol of the excesses and cronyism that accompanied a booming real estate market that collapsed with the global financial crisis in 2008. - Sapa-dpa


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