Former top Spanish banker held in money laundering case

GMT 08:42 2016 Thursday ,14 April

Arab Today, arab today Former top Spanish banker held in money laundering case

Banker Mario Conde
Madrid - AFP

A Madrid court on Wednesday ordered that disgraced former top banker Mario Conde be held without bail pending investigations into alleged money laundering.

Conde, 67, who was previously jailed for embezzlement committed when he was chairman of the Banesto bank, was arrested on Monday along with his son and daughter, and four other people.

Conde, who became a symbol of the "get-rich-quick" culture in Spain in the late 1980s and early 1990s, was chairman of Banesto when it was taken over in 1993 after an audit revealed a shortfall of 3.6 billion euros ($4.1 billion).

He was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2002 for embezzlement and fraud but was released on parole in 2005.

Conde's arrest on Monday was ordered by the National Court which is investigating whether he and his children set up a network of companies to help channel 13 million euros stashed away in offshore accounts in Switzerland and other financial centres that he had embezzled from Banesto back to Spain.

The National Court, Spain's top criminal court, ordered Conde and his former lawyer Francisco Javier de la Vega to be held in jail without bail while the investigation continues, after brief questioning on Wednesday.

The court placed his daughter Alejandra Conde, who is suspected of playing a key role in the alleged money laundering under house arrest.

His son, Mario Conde junior and the three other people arrested were released but banned from leaving Spain.

Conde's lawyer Ignacio Palaez called the court's decision to jail his client "excessive".

Banesto was eventually sold at auction to Spain's Santander bank, which is now the eurozone's largest lender.


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