The former chairman of stricken Spanish bank Bankia, who is facing trial for alleged fraud, has quit the board of British Airways' parent company.
The move yesterday sparked expectations the airline group's biggest shareholder will accelerate its stake sale.
Bankia owns a 12 per cent share of International Consolidated Airlines Group, owner of BA and Iberia, worth more than €420m (£333m). But ever since the Spanish lender was bailed out to the tune of €23.5bn by taxpayers in May it has faced mounting pressure to sell its corporate investments.
The resignation of Rodrigo Rato, a former head of the IMF, from Bankia's board comes two months after he quit as its chairman, just before the bank's first bailout. He and 32 other bank executives face trial for alleged fraud as well as falsifying accounts, dishonest administration, price manipulation and improper appropriation in connection with the bank's collapse. If convicted, he could receive a 15-year sentence.