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Santander CEO banned from banking for 3 months

Thu 10th Mar 2011

Earlier today the Supreme Court in Madrid passed judgement on Banco Santander's chief executive Alfredo Saenz, issuing him with a three-month suspended jail sentence.

Further details of a decision made 2 weeks ago - that the CEO would also be banned from working within the banking industry for the same period - were made public at the same time.

Saenz, the number two in Spain's biggest bank after executive chairman Emilio Botin, was charged with making a false accusation in a case dating back to 1994 when he was the head of Santander subsiduary, Banesto.

The CEO was found guilty of authorising false accusations of fraud and concealment of assets against four executives despite knowing they were innocent as a way of applying pressure to recover a bank loan.

Although Saenz had previously received a six-month suspended jail sentence for the charge by a Barcelona court in 2009, the victims and public prosecutor appealed for a harsher penalty.

A spokesman for Banco Santander immediately announced that Saenz would appeal to Spain's constitutional court and ask for the sentence to be suspended pending a decision, which it expected in two-to-four years.

In a statement to the stock exchange regulator the bank confirmed its confidence in Saenz.

Shares in the bank dropped by 2.51% to reach 8.071 euros by early afternoon, due in part to a decision by Moody's Investors Service to downgrade Spain's sovereign debt rating.

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