Major Trial
Rodrigo Rato blamed the Bank of Spain for mishandling the creation of Bankia yesterday at a trial in which the former International Monetary Fund chief and three other ex- board members of the Bank are accused of fraud.
Rato, who denies any wrongdoing, was Bankia’s chairman at the time of a merger of seven unlisted regional banks to form Bankia in 2010 and its ill-fated 2011 initial public offering.
Less than a year after the 3.1-billion-euro Listing Bankia reported a 3 billion euro loss, prompting a 22.5 billion euro state bailout and its nationalisation.
Rato said “The Bank of Spain clearly indicated the steps that we had to take. during his first comments at the trial, which is expected to last for months.
More than 30 executives of the bank and its parent company are expected to give evidence.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he will take his 2019 national budget proposal to a vote in parliament, even though his center-left minority government doesn’t have enough support yet to get it approved.
The move is a political gamble that could trigger a snap election if Sanchez’s Socialist government fails to win parliamentary approval for his spending plan.
Sanchez said in an interview yesterday that his Cabinet will approve the budget proposal later this week. The next step is the plan’s presentation in parliament, probably next month.
Sanchez has the support of the far-left Podemos party but must persuade smaller parties to back his spending plan, because his two main rivals Ciudadanos and the conservative Popular Party – are both refusing to support it.
The interview provided a starting gun for what analysts anticipate will be an eventful political year in the eurozone’s fourth largest economy.

Sexual Slavery
The National Police said yesterday they had freed five Russian and Ukrainian women, who were forced to provide sexual services in a nightclub in Granada, from sexual slavery.
Four suspects have been detained .. three have been taken into custody although Their nationalities have not been revealed.
The suspected smugglers were in contact with people who recruited the victims via social networks.
searches were carried out in the club and in a house in Granada, firearms over 1,000 euros in cash, and marijuana were found.

The Far Right
Spain’s main feminist groups are preparing public protests against the far-right party Vox, which is threatening to withhold support for a new government in Andalusia unless its new leaders pledge to repeal existing gender violence policies.
Feminism, not a single step back is the slogan of a movement that will kick off activities today with the reading of a manifesto.
Francisco Serrano, Vox’s leader in Andalusia, has been a vocal opponent of what he terms “radical feminism.