Spanish banker released on record £10m bail

Spain's former banking supremo, Mario Conde, who was jailed in December accused of criminal fraud and embezzlement, was released yesterday on a record bail of 2 billion pesetas (£10m) on condition that he remain in Spain. The High Court ruled yesterday that the crimes of which Mr Conde was accused were insufficient to keep him in detention. Mr Conde's lawyers said last night they expected to raise the money in the next few days.

A star of Spain's 1980s financial boom, Mr Conde was chairman of Spanish Credit Bank (Banesto), the country's fourth-largest bank, until his alleged improper dealings brought the company to its knees in 1993. He has always denied responsibility for Banesto's "black hole" - a Ptas605bn capital deficit created largely by over-valuation of Banesto's assets. He was once a close friend of Felipe Gonzalez, the Prime Minister, and a frequent visitor to King Juan Carlos's palace.

He says in an account of his actions published in December that he fell victim to a campaign of political dirty tricks and was unwillingly cast as the black sheep of Spanish banking.

Mr Conde was dismissed as Banesto's chairman by the Bank of Spain, the central bank, at the end of 1993 for "gross negligence" following allegations that he had created a web of intermediary companies that bought and sold assets within the Banesto group.

During his six-year stint as chairman of the bank, the public prosecutor said, he and nine senior associates enriched themselves by systematicallygulling and defrauding Banesto's shareholders.

Banesto's current chairman, Alfredo Saenz, told a parliamentary commission last October: "In Banesto there have been cases in which money has not been lost, it has disappeared and somebody has it."

Arturo Romani, Mr Conde's former deputy chairman, who was detained with him, was also freed yesterday on bail of Ptas1bn.

Last April, Banesto was acquired at auction by Banco Santander after some Ptas780bn in public and private funds had been spent on salvaging it, in one of the biggest bank rescues recorded.

The Bank of Spain said that "the support of the entire banking system" was required to refloat Banesto.

JP Morgan, the blue chip US investment bank, helped Banesto raise more than $700m from the international markets in 1993.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy