Spanish court summons ex-banker Blesa for questioning

MADRID Tue Feb 4, 2014 9:16am EST

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MADRID Feb 4 (Reuters) - A Spanish judge has summoned Miguel Blesa, former chairman of Caja Madrid, to answer questions in court as part of an investigation into the mis-selling of complex financial products, a court source said on Tuesday.

The judge also called for questioning another 14 board members of Caja Madrid and Bancaja -- two former savings banks that merged with five others to form lender Bankia, which later required Spain's biggest-ever bank bailout.

Many savers have filed lawsuits against Spanish banks saying that they were duped into buying complex debt products called preference shares under the misconception that these instruments were safe, high-interest deposit accounts.

As part of Bankia's rescue, many lost money on these securities, although small-time investors have also been given a chance to get their funds back if they can show they were mis-sold the preference shares.

Blesa must appear for questioning on March 3. The judge has not charged him, but Blesa is named in a criminal complaint brought by third parties including the Union, Progress and Democracy Party (UPyD) and anti-corruption campaigners Manos Limpias ("Clean Hands").

Spain's High Court said in December it would investigate whether Blesa and other board members planned to sell preference shares in order to raise capital.

Blesa, one of the few Spanish bankers to spend time in custody following the country's financial crisis, walked free from prison in June after a Spanish court decided to shelve another case against him. (Reporting By Rodrigo de Miguel and Jesus Aguado; Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Sarah White/Mark Heinrich)

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