Former IMF head denies money laundering charges

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Madrid, July 31 (IANS) A former head of the International Monetary Fund and an ex-deputy Prime Minister in Spain’s government who is under investigation for alleged involvement in money laundering for private profit denied any wrongdoing at a hearing in front of an investigating magistrate here on Monday.

Rodrigo Rato, who had also been Spain’s Economy Minister for eight years until 2004 and left his post as Managing Director of the IMF to become President of Bankia, a Spanish lender whose losses following the 2008 financial crisis saw it nationalized and bailed out for $24 billion, is under investigation on a number of counts of suspected financial misdeeds.

“Accurate data was always available to the Tax Agency, which has preferred to ignore that in order to arrest me,” Efe quoted Rato as saying as he emerged from the court.

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“I have not committed any crime, tax-linked or of any other type,” Rato added.

He denied laundering money through overseas shell companies, something that Spain’s Central Operation Unit of the Civil Guard police service have accused him of.

Rato insisted that the unit “has had to recognize” that despite months of investigation they had not been able to pin charges of tax fraud through foreign currency movements despite alleging the fraud “amounted to 8.5 million euros”.

Rato claimed that he had been subject to “false accusations” by a former Director of Spain’s Anti-fraud Office, Margarita García-Valdecasas and her team.

Rato, who looks set to face trial in November, had answered questions over his alleged ownership of companies domiciled abroad which he had allegedly used as shell companies.

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–IANS

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