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Banking

Former Caja Madrid chairman leaves prison for the second time

Judge signs release order after prosecutors refused to back him on reopening of Florida bank case

Former Caja Madrid Chairman Miguel Blesa, who is under investigation for the purchase of a Florida bank, was released from jail on Thursday where he had been in protective custody at the Soto del Real prison since June 5.

It was the second time that Blesa had been jailed and released as part of a series of investigations into his stewardship of the savings bank, now part of the nationalized lender Bankia.

“I more than anyone want this entire matter cleared up,” said Blesa who said that he was happy to be back with his family.

Judge Elpidio José Silva signed the release order after prosecutors, who had been against the investigation, announced that they would fall back on a decision in 2010 handed down by the Madrid regional High Court, which dismissed the case.

Silva reopened the investigation by linking it with the fraud case that has been filed against the former Spanish Businessman’s Confederation (CEOE) president, Gerardo Díaz Ferrán, who is also in preventive custody at Soto del Real following his arrest on December 3. The Madrid High Court criticized Silva’s decision to reopen the case without any new evidence.

I more than anyone want this entire matter cleared up”

The judge has been looking into a 26.5-million-euro loan Caja Madrid granted Díaz Ferrán.

Carlos Aguilar, Blesa’s lawyer, had also demanded that his client be released under the Madrid High Court’s ruling.

Manos Limpias, the obscure rightwing union that filed a complaint against Blesa, said it would go to the Supreme Court to contest the Madrid court’s ruling.

According to his order, the judge said that he had “serious doubts” about the resolutions coming from the Madrid High Court but it wasn’t clear if he would close the inquiry.

Blesa authorized the payment of 1.1 billion euros in 2008 for City National Bank in Florida without conducting an independent analysis, according to court papers.

The former Caja Madrid president had been sent to prison on May 17 but was released the following day after posting 2.5 million euros in bail. Silva sent him again to jail without bail earlier this month.

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