MADRID, July 4 (UPI) -- The National Court of Spain Wednesday began a criminal investigation into Bankia SA and 32 of its board members, including former Chairman Rodrigo Rato.
Investigating Judge Fernando Andreu indicted Rato and the other board members of the beleaguered bank as he announced the investigation, prompted by a complaint brought by Union, Progress and Democracy, a Spanish political party, The Wall Street Journal and the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.
Andreu also indicted former Interior Minister Angel Acebes and Jose Luis Olivas, the former chairman of another bank, who both served on the board of Bankia's parent company, El Pais said.
Citing court documents, the Journal said the party alleged Bankia, parent company Banco Financiero y de Ahorros SA and members of both companies' boards committed fraud and misappropriated funds as part of Bankia's initial public offering in 2011. The complaint alleges the bank falsified its 2011 annual reports, the newspaper said.
The targets of the investigation served on the boards prior to Bankia's recent nationalization.
The IPO resulted in 3.1 billion euros ($3.9 billion) being invested in the bank by more than 300,000 small investors, mostly bank clients, the Journal reported.
Rato was managing director of the International Monetary Fund from 2004-2007. He served as Spain's minister of the economy from 1996-2004 and deputy prime minister from 2003-2004.
The complaint that led to the court investigation alleges Bankia provided misleading data in its IPO prospectus, which did include caution regarding market volatility and the possibility of an economic downturn.
The Spanish government agreed in May to rescue the bank with an infusion of 19 billion euros -- the largest bank rescue in Spanish history. However, the economic downturn deprived Spain of cash for the Bankia bailout and the government eventually asked the European Union for a loan of as much as 100 billion euros to clean up its banks' balance sheets.