Rodrigo Rato, who led the International Monetary Fund from 2004-2007, was arrested in Spain last night over allegations of tax evasion and money laundering.
An influential figure in Spanish banking and politics, Rato was the predecessor of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Khan, who left office under a cloud of legal troubles and allegations of sexual assault.
Government support for Spain’s scandal-plagued Princess Cristina has waned, with its new parliament spokesman saying she should consider taking herself out of the line of succession after being ordered to stand trial on tax fraud charges.
“Cristina should reflect on whether she should renounce her rights of succession,” said Rafael Hernando in an interview published on Sunday in the newspaper El Mundo.
Princess Cristina, the sister of Spain’s King Felipe VI, will be the first member of the royal family ever to appear in the dock after a judge Monday ordered her to be tried for tax fraud.
The historic decision comes after four years of investigations that plunged the royal family into crisis and contributed to the abdication of King Juan Carlos in June.
He once spent thousands of euros of public money to build a 24-metre copper sculpture of himself outside a ghost airport in the Spanish region that he ran. But on Monday Carlos Fabra, former head of Castellón’s provincial government, took pains to avoid crowds and cameras as he quietly entered a prison on the outskirts of Madrid to begin serving a four-year sentence for tax fraud.
Fabra became entangled in a corruption investigation in 2003 after being accused by a businessman of charging hefty fees for political favours. The inquiry widened as investigators began to question Fabra’s claims of consistently winning El Gordo, the Christmas lottery.
The detention of Portugal’s former Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, on suspicion of tax fraud, money laundering and corruption has stunned the nation and upset calculations for the next year’s general election.
“The likely effect is greater volatility and a more fragmented parliament,” says Carlos Jalali, a professor of political science at the University of Aveiro.