SANTANDER, Spain March 22 Santander's
chairman said he saw no reason why chief executive Alfredo Saenz
should have to give up his duties after the Bank of Spain began
proceedings to decide if he would be barred from banking.
The Bank of Spain kicked off the process earlier this month
after partially annulling a 2011 pardon for a conviction held by
the CEO of the euro zone's biggest bank, dating back to his time
as head of lender Banesto.
"I want to let you know that we have definitive reports that
there will be no legal obstacle to our CEO continuing to perform
his duties," Chairman Emilio Botin said at the bank's annual
shareholders' meeting in the northern city of Santander.
"He has done wonderful work all these years he has been with
us and the board has expressed total confidence in him," Botin
told shareholders, who applauded while he spoke.
Saenz was convicted in 2009 for false accusations against
debtors when he headed Santander-owned bank Banesto in 1994. He
was handed a brief jail sentence and barred from banking for
(Reporting by Jesus Aguado; Writing by Clare Kane; Editing by
Julien Toyer and Helen Massy-Beresford)