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Spain Judge Allows Former Caja Madrid Chairman to Leave Prison

A Spanish judge allowed Miguel Blesa, the former chairman of savings bank Caja Madrid, to leave jail.

Judge Elpidio-Jose Silva, who ordered Blesa be put behind bars on June 5, authorized his release following a petition from his defense lawyer and the public prosecutor, a spokesman for a regional court in Madrid said by telephone today. Blesa may leave the Soto del Real jail outside Madrid, where he was being held without bail, he said.

The Provincial Court of Madrid yesterday annulled the decision by Silva last year to re-open a probe into a loan made by Caja Madrid to Gerardo Diaz Ferran, a former head of the Spanish business lobby who was also a board member of the lender. In its ruling, the Provincial Court said the probe had become a “general cause to seek those responsible” for the country’s economic crisis.

Silva had ordered Blesa’s imprisonment as he investigated losses resulting from Caja Madrid’s purchase of a bank in Florida in 2008. Caja Madrid was merged with Bancaja and five other savings banks in 2010 to form Bankia. The banking group needed a 22 billion-euro rescue ($29 billion) last year that led Spain to seek bailout funds from Europe to salvage the industry.

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