Spanish judicial officials reported that the home and office of former International Monetary Fund chief were searched on Thursday as part of a tax and money laundering investigation. The former IMF head is already under investigation for alleged fraud and misusing company credit cards.
According to the newspaper, the Spaniard – a former finance minister – applied for a 2012 tax amnesty. This was legal, however, online publication Vozpopuli claims he ‘cleaned’ the ‘dirty’ money outside of Spain, before declaring it: notably in the tax havens of Gibraltar and the Virgin Islands.
The Tax Agency has provided the Executive Service for Prevention and Capital Laundering (Sepblac) with the names of 705 anonymous taxpayers. Sepblac has launched an investigation into those on the list, who are suspected of using the immunity deal to launder money
Vozpopuli says Rato – a former government official in Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party – was on this list.
Spain’s current finance minister, Luis de Guindos, refused to elaborate on the alleged investigation.
“I have a duty to keep things under wraps, a duty of confidentiality,” he said. “The only thing I can tell you is that all state institutions will comply with any legal procedures,” he said.
Rato has neither denied nor confirmed the accusation of money laundering.
However, he has stated that he has not been notified whether or not he’s under investigation.
“I have received no document from any agency stating that I am being investigated by Sepblac,” he told El Pais.
If Rato is proven to have used the amnesty to launder money, questions will be raised over whether or not the government attempted to cover up the crime.