Barclays denies bail link to jailed banker

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The Independent Online
Spain's disgraced former banking supremo, Mario Conde, sentenced to six years in jail for fraud, has until Monday morning to raise a staggering pounds 10m bail, and Madrid's financial world is awash with rumours that a British bank is orchestrating the operation.

Spanish National Radio reported yesterday that Barclays was seeking to raise the money. The bank denies the report. "Barclays has nothing to do with any such operation," said the bank's Madrid spokesman yesterday. "The reports, which we think are being spread by another bank, are unfounded."

Midland, whose name is also circulating, "categorically denies" it was involved.

Spanish banks appear to have reeled away in horror at the prospect of shoring up the man held responsible for the gravest crisis in Spain's banking history. The Spanish news agency Efe, citing "sources close to the operation", reported on Thursday that an unnamed British bank had stepped in.

Barclays Madrid spokesman said: "It would be very unlikely for a Spanish bank to lend to Mr Conde because such an operation cannot be judged purely on financial terms". Mr Conde had worked with Barclays during his glory days as head of the prestigious Banesto bank in the early 1990s.

Mr Conde, once one of the most powerful figures in Spain, was sacked from Banesto in 1993, accused of creating a "black hole" of pounds 3bn.