Spain's Interior Ministry is defending its department head after a newspaper revealed he secretly met with Rodrigo Rato, the former International Monetary Fund chief suspected of fraud and money laundering.

The ministry said in a statement Monday that Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz and Rato discussed "exclusively personal" matters at their meeting last week and did not talk about the allegations against Rato which stem from his time as chief executive of Spanish lender Bankia. The bank had to be bailed out by the Spanish government in 2012.

Prior to his time at the IMF between 2004 and 2007, Rato was Spain's economy minister.

Spanish opposition leaders called for Fernandez Diaz to appear in Parliament to answer questions about the meeting that was revealed by the El Mundo newspaper.