Former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato in court over alleged fraud at nationalized Spanish bank

Former IMF managing director Rodrigo Rato has appeared before Spain's National Court to answer questions over his stewardship of Bankia, a major bank that had to be nationalized and bailed out by the state for €18 billion ($24 billion).

Rato was one of 33 former board members of Bankia SA named in a criminal probe by Judge Fernando Andreu.

Prosecutors have accused them of falsifying the bank's accounts when it went public a year ago, among other alleged offenses. The judge has not formally charged Rato with any crime.

Rato took over the bank — a merger of seven unlisted savings banks laden with toxic property investments — in 2010. In May, Bankia replaced him and requested a bailout.

He was greeted by protesters on entering the court Thursday.