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Spanish protestors sue ex Bankia chief

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 02:09

June 14 - As public anger grows about nationalised Spanish lender Bankia, a group of protestors are starting civil and criminal proceedings against the bank's former chairman. Joanna Partridge reports.

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Rodrigo Rato in happier times. He used to be chairman of Spanish bank Bankia. Less than a year ago - the lender's shares floated on Madrid's stock exchange. He stepped down in May shortly before the bank requested 19 billion euros in state aid and was nationalised. And now this group of protestors are sueing him and the former managers of Bankia's parent company - financing the lawsuit using crowd funding. Members of Spain's "indignados" movement - who are "indignant" about the government's handling of the crisis - started the civil and criminal proceedings. SOUNDBITE: UNIDENTIFIED MEMBER OF THE "INDIGNADOS", SAYING (Spanish): "We are not merchandise in the hands of people like him. Today, our risk premium has gone over 550 points, setting a new record. I think our diagnosis of the crisis is totally accurate and the politicians and the bankers have refused to listen to us." A property crash hit Bankia hard but investors say they were not warned of the impending dangers when the bank listed shares last summer. Thousands of them lost out as the stock tanked And shareholders aren't the only people angry about Bankia. Gloria was due to be evicted from her home after defaulting on her Bankia mortgage. Activists stepped in and prevented the Columbian, her mother and daughter, from losing the property. SOUNDBITE: GLORIA, BANKIA MORTGAGE HOLDER MEANT TO BE EVICTED, SAYING (Spanish): "It is not easy to go public with a difficult situation like mine. But I realised after getting support from so many people that I wasn't the only one. It's become a social problem and is happening to lots of people. There are lots of empty properties and it's not fair to evict people when a different solution could be found, like social rent." Protestors say 200 evictions take place every day. Under Spanish law, homeowners can't cancel their debt by handing the keys to the mortgage provider. Despite being nationalised, Bankia continues to foreclose on properties that families can't pay for. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Spanish protestors sue ex Bankia chief

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 02:09