Spain Judge Orders Jail for Ex-Caja Madrid Chairman Miguel Blesa

A Spanish judge ordered that Miguel Blesa, the former chairman of Caja Madrid, be put in jail amid a probe into alleged irregularities relating to the lender’s purchase of a bank in the U.S.

A Madrid regional court judge set Blesa’s bail at 2.5 million euros ($3.2 million), according to an e-mailed statement from the court today.

Judge Elpidio Silva said Blesa, 65, should be detained as he investigates Caja Madrid’s purchase of City National Bank of Florida in 2008 in a deal valued at more than $900 million.

Caja Madrid merged with Bancaja and five other savings banks in 2010 to form Bankia (BKIA), a banking group that needed a 22 billion-euro rescue last year that forced Spain to seek bailout funds from Europe to salvage its banking industry.

Blesa’s lawyer Carlos Aguilar didn’t immediately to respond to a phone message left by Bloomberg News today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Charles Penty in Madrid at cpenty@bloomberg.net; Ben Sills in Madrid at bsills@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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