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2/24/17

EU: Spain MPs to probe €60bn bank bailouts- by Sarah Morris

Spanish MPs have voted unanimously to set up a commission to examine mistakes that led to a €60 billion bank bailout in 2012.

In a rare display of unity in Spain's fragmented parliament, all parties signed up to a deal on Wednesday (22 February) to “create a commission to investigate the financial and banking crisis, the listing of savings bank Bankia and its later rescue, the action taken by regulators and the weaknesses, needs and challenges of the financial system”.

In 2012, a government led by current centre-right prime minister Mariano Rajoy sought a bailout from the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) after Bankia requested €22.5 billion in aid just a year after its flotation under the previous Socialist government. Dozens of other savings banks also needed state cash.

The cross-party deal this week came after the opposition Socialists, anti-austerity group Unidos Podemos and Catalan party Republican Left all lodged separate petitions for commissions.

Expected to hear evidence from April for about six months, the parliamentary commission will in particular look at the controversial listing of Bankia, the largest bank bailout still in public control.

In recent years, Spain's courts have looked into hundreds of corruption allegations linked to the property boom. Between July 2015 and September 2016, 399 people were convicted of corruption-related offences like embezzling public money, the General Board of Judicial Power (CGPJ), which oversees Spain’s judiciary, said in a report last month.

The creation of the parliamentary commission comes after the high court said last week it would question the former governor of the Bank of Spain, Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez, over Bankia's regulation.

Five other officials at the central bank and two former senior managers of stock market regulator, the CNMV, will also be questioned.

Read more: Spain MPs to probe €60bn bank bailouts

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