Former Spanish banker found dead with gunshot wound

A former chairman of one of Spain's largest banks has been found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest in a private estate in the south of the country.

Agents have ruled out murder and are investigating whether Miguel Blesa's death is an accident or suicide, a spokeswoman with the Civil Guard said.

Mr Blesa was chairman of Caja Madrid, one of the Spain's top banks until it was merged with seven other domestic savings banks in 2011 to form Bankia SA, which later had to be nationalised and bailed out for €18bn.

Mr Blesa also appeared in the documents of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that was investigated for offshore accounts.

Witnesses who were with Mr Blesa in the private property near the southern city of Cordoba told police that the former banker left the group early on Wednesday morning, saying he was going to take his car.

They described hearing one gun shot moments later, the Civil Guard said.

Both Mr Blesa and former International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato, who chaired Bankia between 2010 and 2012, appealed a March ruling by Spain's National Court that condemned them to six and four-and-a-half years in prison respectively for misusing the saving bank's corporate credit cards.

Mr Blesa received the highest punishment among 65 defendants found guilty of hiding irregular and undeclared expenses with the cards.

The two former bankers were released on bail while the appeal is resolved.

The 69-year-old former banker was also in the midst of a lawsuit involving irregular bonuses during his time at Caja Madrid.

In 2013, he was briefly jailed for irregularities in the purchase of shares in the City National Bank of Florida, but a court later acquitted him.

AP


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