Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato and all other defendants put on trial on accusations of fraud and falsifying the books in the 2011 stock listing of Spain’s Bankia bank were acquitted on Tuesday.
The court said bank’s stock listing had received approvals “from all necessary institutions”.
The listing was very popular among small investors, who lost their shirts when the Spanish state had to nationalise the bank the following year and inject 22 billion euros ($25.7 billion) to keep it from collapsing.
Rato, who headed the International Monetary Fund from 2004 to 2007, led the merger in 2010 of several struggling banks into Bankia.
The image of a smiling Rato ringing the bell and sipping champagne on July 20, 2011 to mark the start of Bankia’s listing has since become a symbol of the scandal.