Santander hires former IMF, Bankia chief Rodrigo Rato

MADRID Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:57pm EDT

Rodrigo Rato, former president of Spanish nationalized lender Bankia, attends a ceremony to launch former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar's book ''Memories I'', in Madrid November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Rodrigo Rato, former president of Spanish nationalized lender Bankia, attends a ceremony to launch former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar's book ''Memories I'', in Madrid November 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Santander (SAN.MC), the euro zone's biggest bank, has hired Rodrigo Rato, under investigation in connection with allegations of fraud at state-rescued lender Bankia (BKIA.MC) when he was chairman, to its international advisory boards.

Rato, who has also served as head of the International Monetary Fund and as Spain's economy minister, will advise the bank's board on designing, developing and implementing its overall business strategy, a spokeswoman for the bank said.

Earlier this year Rato, who was ousted from Bankia when it was nationalized in 2012, was appointed by Telefonica (TEF.MC) to the advisory boards of its European and Latin American businesses.

With 32 other Bankia board members he is the subject of an investigation into allegations of fraud, price-fixing, and falsifying accounts in connection with the listing of the lender in 2011.

($1=0.7666 euro)

(Reporting by Jesus Aguado; Writing by Julien Toyer; Editing by Greg Mahlich)