"Hang me if you like," Ruiz-Mateos tells judge in fraud case

Chairman of failed business Nueva Rumasa refuses to testify in Palma de Mallorca court

José María Ruiz-Mateos arrives to court in Palma de Mallorca on Wednesday.
José María Ruiz-Mateos arrives to court in Palma de Mallorca on Wednesday.EFE

José María Ruiz-Mateos, the chairman of failed business congolmerate Nueva Rumasa, on Wednesday refused to testify in a Palma de Mallorca court on fraud charges. The businessman, who had been arrested at his home in Madrid and escorted to the Balearic Island to answer the charges also refused to sign his bail order.

Instead, Ruiz-Mateos limited his verbiage to inviting the judge to "hang me in the town square if you like."

"You are a terrible woman," Ruiz-Mateos continued, after telling reporters outside the court "I am dying. The judge is the devil, she just wants to create a circus."

Ruiz-Mateos and his six sons stand accused of fraud over the 13.9-million euro sale of a hotel in Mallorca. The impresario oversaw the collapse of Nueva Rumasa, which left hundreds of investors empty-handed and was also at the helm of Rumasa, a previous incarnation that was expropriated by the government in 1983.

He had been summonsed several times, most recently last week when he also detained in Madrid. The judge eventually excused the 81-year-old on "humanitarian" grounds.

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