Spanish economy minister to testify in bank probe

Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos has been called by the National Court to testify in a probe into alleged fraud at one of the country's major banks.

The court said Friday that De Guindos will give testimony on Feb. 18 as a witness relating to Bankia SA, which had to be nationalized and bailed out by the state for (EURO)18 billion ($24 billion).

As a government minister he may provide written replies or be questioned at his ministerial office. Also called are former Bank of Spain governor Miguel Fernadez Ordonez and Bankia's president Jose Ignacio Gorigolzarri.

Judge Fernando Andreu is investigating suspected mismanagement by former Popular Party minister and ex-IMF chief Rodrigo Rato and 32 other one-time Bankia board members. Rato has not been charged with any crime.

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Spain's Finance Minister Luis de Guindos arrives to give a joint news conference with he European Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn, unseen, in Madrid Monday Jan. 28, 2013. Battling to reduce a swollen deficit and avoid a bailout, the year-old conservative government has brought major financial and labor reforms and applied severe cutbacks in wages and spending but so far the economy has shown few signs of recovery. (AP Photo/Paul White)