A disgraced banker who has been charged with fraud, corruption and financial crimes after running the Banco de Valencia into the ground has been given the top job at Bancaja after the President quit unexpectedly yesterday.
Antonio Tirado, the new head of Bancaja, has been charged by a court in Valencia with multiple financial crimes after he ran the Banco de Valencia into the ground (it collapsed last year). 137 shareholders signed a joint querella against him which was accepted by a judge and later bundled together with a series of charges from the Financial Prosecutor of Valencia. He has been charged, but the trial has yet to commence. Shareholders alleged that he lied for years about the state of the books at the bank until one day he couldn’t scrape together enough cash to pay the wages, and the state had to nationalise it (it was then offloaded for a euro to Bancaja, I believe, who already had about 30% of the shares).
José Luis Oliva, the old President of Bancaja, quit last night for no apparent reason. Although it is only fair to assume that nobody in Madrid wants the financial markets to know that Bancaja is also collapsing, in the midst of the 12 billion euro bailout of Bankia. (Bancaja is next weeks problem, expect more on this soon, and meanwhile get out of it if you can). Officially he is in dispute about the forced merger with Caja Madrid, but his parting shot to the board, via a press conference, was with the ominous words “I am aware that during the last eight years many things have happened here that are difficult to explain and understand… [..] I want to apologise for any mistakes I may have made in the past but my first interest was always that of this Banks” (El Mundo).
Make of these words what you will. Bottom covering in the extreme is my guess.
Tirado made a show of not wanting the job, but the board of directors insisted (as no-one else came forward, and he was vice-president of Bancaja). So now he’s lead two major banks into collapse.
José María Mas Millet, a respected economist proposed by Valencia region for the job, refused point blank to touch the job with a barge pole, and walked away shuddering. In fact, I am given to understand he put out a press release refusing the job before Valencia actually confirmed he had been put forward.
Tirado, who was the socialist mayor of Castellón for most of the 80’s, has been a board member of Bancaja for the last 25 years. Interestingly enough, despite being a PSOE boy for the last three decades, and being a bit of a heavyweight, the PSOE voted against him getting the job. (Why does the PSOE get a vote in who runs a bank?)
Apabankva, the shareholder’s association that filed the original criminal complaint against Tirado, said that it was unbelievable that “this man can still work in finance”, but added that it was understandable that he continued in the sector “as not one single person in power has had the common decency to tell this fraudster to go home”.
“If he was a real man” they concluded, “he’d quit, go home”. (and live off the millions he’s already stolen was given to understand).