Judge who jailed Caja Madrid chief back on case

Elpidio José Silva had been sanctioned for overstepping his authority

Madrid -

Elpidio José Silva, the judge who ordered the controversial imprisonment of former Caja Madrid chairman Miguel Blesa, has been put back on the case after being sanctioned for overstepping his authority. Silva, however, has declined to accept it.

The magistrate said he first wanted the Madrid Provincial Court to rule on a suit filed by Silva's lawyers requesting that he be removed from the case because of an alleged lack of impartiality.

Judge Silva sent Blesa to jail twice in connection with an investigation into Caja Madrid's purchase of City National Bank of Florida (CNB), and with another probe into a 26.6-million-euro loan granted by the savings bank to Gerardo Díaz Ferrán, the now-jailed former head of the CEOE - Spain's largest employers group - who is facing tax fraud and money-laundering charges.

Blesa spent two weeks in preventive custody as an alleged flight risk.

Silva recently returned to the court he normally works at after serving a suspension of four months and seven days for failing to provide reasons to back up his arguments and for falling behind on casework he was handling.

Silva decided to send Blesa to jail on the basis of text messages and emails sent and received by the former bank chief, which showed how ruling Popular Party (PP) officials tried to impose strategic decisions on the lender's board, ordered million-euro investments regarded as unnecessary, and requested favorable treatment for close friends.

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