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  • Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato (C) walks between police officers as he leaves his office in Madrid, April 17, 2015.

    Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato (C) walks between police officers as he leaves his office in Madrid, April 17, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Rodrigo Rato was charged for using credit cards for irregular and undeclared expenses.

The former director of the International Monetary Fund was sentenced Thursday by a Spanish court to four years and six months in prison for misappropriating bank funds.

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Rodrigo Rato had been on trial along with 64 other executives and former board members of Bankia and its founding savings bank Caja Madrid.

He was found guilty of misappropriating funds from the now extinct Caja Madrid bank, which he led at the time, by using credit cards for irregular and undeclared expenses.

Rato, who was economy minister in Spain and a prominent figure in the ruling People's Party before moving to the IMF, chaired Bankia for two years until just before its state bailout in 2012.

The case is one of several high-level corruption investigations now coming to fruition and seen as a test of whether Spain's rich and powerful are accountable to the law.

Last week, a Spanish court found the king's brother-in-law guilty of using royal connections to overcharge regional governments through public contracts.

Rato and ex-Caja Madrid Chairman Miguel Blesa, who was sentenced to six years in jail, were convicted of misappropriating funds, the court said in a written ruling.

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