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Spain: Crowdfunding Against the Impunity of the Banks

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

In view of the indifference of the government and the district attorney’s office to investigate the management of Bankia by it's ex chairman, Rodrigo Rato, people in Spain raised money from donations to submit a complaint before the court and meet the requirements to conduct a legal investigation efficiently.  The initiative has had a massive following in social networks under several hashtags, one of which is #CrowdfundPaRato [es].  In 24 hours, more than the €15, 000 (Euros) of the required funds were raised, resulting in the collapse for a few hours of the crowdfunding Goteo website [es].  The organizers are asking to not donate any more money for now since the objective has already been achieved by far.

The website enabled for the crowdfunding project [es] explains the motivation and objective of this project:

La Constitución española, en su artículo 119, establece que la justicia será gratuita cuando así lo disponga la Ley y, en todo caso, respecto de quienes acrediten insuficiencia de recursos para litigar.

En nuestro caso, tenemos claro que meter a Rato y demás responsables de la Estafa Bankia en la cárcel no es precisamente una iniciativa que vaya a ser respaldada por los que hacen las leyes. Tampoco va a ayudar que acreditemos que no disponemos de la enorme cantidad de recursos económicos que se requieren para un proceso de esta dimensión.

En definitiva, no vamos a poder contar con los instrumentos del Estado (que tampoco es que nos fiemos mucho de ellos). Es más, piensan que no podemos hacerlo porque no tenemos dinero, pero no cuentan con que somos much@s y que, con una pequeña aportación de cada un@, lo conseguiremos.

The Spanish Constitution, in the article 119, establishes that justice shall remain free when thus provided by law, and shall in any case be so in respect to those who have insufficient means to litigate.

In this case, it is clear to us that to bring Rato and other officials responsible of the Bankia fraud to prison is not an initiative that will be easily supported by law makers.  The fact that we don’t have huge amounts of money for such a process won’t help either.

In short, we won’t be able to count on the instruments of the State (not that we trust them very much). And they think we can’t do it because of lack of money, but what they don’t know is that we are many, and that with a small contribution from each one of us we will do it.

Goteo’s banner for crowdfunding campaign to prosecute Rodrigo Rato.

In his blog steph.es/blog [es],  @fanetin explains how the money will be broken down:

  • €200 for the shareholder’s authorization before a notary.
  • €6 000 for the lawyer (for everything the case implies, among other things questioning approximately 80 people).
  • €1 000 for the attorney (compulsory)
  • €3 000 for trips to Madrid by the attorneys, witnesses, etc (during a year).
  • €5 000 for paperwork, research, and communication.
  • €1 300 for the Crowdfunding Goteo platform

Certainly, the popular initiative to prosecute those responsible for the economic crisis in Spain is still on and stronger than ever.

As can be read in the 15mparato[es] webpage:

Emprenderemos acciones criminales y civiles contra los integrantes del Consejo de administración de Bankia, en la época en la que fue presidido por el Sr. Rodrigo Rato y contra el Consejo de administración del Banco Financiero y de Ahorros, la matriz tóxica y ruinosa que endosaron al Estado.

Solicitamos prisión y el embargo de sus bienes por valor equivalente a la cantidad obtenida con la colocación irregular de acciones. Han engañado a 400.000 inversores -en muchos casos ahorradores de la entidad- para sustraerles su dinero y ahora, misteriosamente, ha desaparecido, arrastrando al país al borde del rescate.

We will take criminal and civil actions against the members of the Bankia management council at the time Mr. Rodrigo Rato was its head and against the Management Council of the Banco Financiero y de Ahorros, the toxic and damaging matrix transferred to the State.

We ask for imprisonment and the seizure of his property that corresponds to the amount obtained by the illegal issuing of stocks.  They have cheated 400,000 investors -in many cases, the bank’s clients- out of their money and now, mysteriously, it is gone, dragging the country to the brink of bailout.

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

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