Top Spain banker sentenced for graft found dead — Caja Madrid

Former president of Caja Madrid bank Miguel Blesa

Former president of Caja Madrid bank Miguel Blesa

Blesa's corpse was found at a hunting estate in the southern province of Cordoba with a shot from a firearm to his chest, a spokeswoman for the Guardia Civil said by phone.

Spanish daily El Pais said Blesa was having breakfast with friends at the hunting estate and left the table to move his vehicle, He was found dead shortly after, it added.

In February the banker was sentenced to six years in jail over misuse of the company's credit cards while at the bank's helm. He was appealing the sentence at the time of his death.

He was found guilty of having misappropriated 435,00 euros ($502,000).

Among those who were also convicted over the affair was Rato, who chaired Bankia for two years until just before it was bailed out in 2012.

Caja Madrid, once Spain's "main regional savings bank", formed Bankia in a merger with six other banks in 2010, after an "ill-fated" flotation was bailed out by the Spanish government in 2012. Rato was sentenced to four and a half years in jail.

Rescuing the bank cost taxpayers €20bn (£18bn) and forced the government to "request financial aid from its European Union partners".

Blesa, who is close to former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, headed Caja Madrid between 1996 and 2009.

He was also under judicial investigation in two other cases, including Caja Madrid's acquisition of City National Bank of Florida in 2008.

In 2013 Mr Blesa was the first prominent banker to go to prison since the start of Spain's financial crisis.

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