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Spain: 15M Presents Legal Complaint Against Bankia

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

[All links are in Spanish unless otherwise stated.]

Finally they've done it, and before it was expected. The [movement] 15M  has presented a legal complaint before the National Audience arguing accounting falsehood and commercial fraud by Bankia executives, among them its former President Rodrigo Rato, who is also a former Spanish Economy Minister and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The complaint, brought by 13 minor shareholders who lost their savings, asks for prison, disqualification and assets embargo for the administration council members of the bank at the time when it started trading at the stock exchange on July 2011.

Even though the complaint was presented as a particular action to “avoid a millionaire bail out” it also represents a “popular action against the banks, because thousands of people are participating on it,” explained a member of the judicial team. And there's no doubt it is a collective action as the 15MpaRato [15M for a long time or 15M vs Rato] initiative stated in a press conference. In Madrid, several groups of the 15M that support and promote the complaint were present, like los Iaioflautas, the Platform for Citizen Audit of Debt, Citizen Rescue Plan and X.net.

“I trusted my savings in Bankia and now I feel cheated. I can't find a word in the dictionary to describe my jaded state,” said one of the affected, a 62 year old women, in a press conference that was followed live on Bambuser by aproximately 2,500 people.

The presentation of the complaint was supported, followed and commented on Twitter under the hashtag #Ratoencerrado [trapped rat-o] a word game with the name of the former Bankia President and the expression “there's a trapped cat” (there is something hidden) that refers to the hope of having Rato behind bars and the entity's shady accounts and operations.

The hashtag was launched at 10 am and became Trending Topic in Spain and worldwide few minutes after.

These are some of the tweets sent on June 14th:

@fanetin:  Hoy un gran hito contra la impunidad de los banqueros; entregamos #QuerellaPaRato. Vamos a por el #RatoEncerrado

@fanetin: Today is a milestone against the impunity of the bankers; we presented #QuerellaPaRato [Complaint against Rato] let's go get #RatoEncerrado

‏@bufetalmeida: #RatoEncerrado TT global en 7 minutos :-)

@bufetalmeida: #RatoEncerrado Global TT in 7 minutes :-)

@tempestaddepvc: #RatoEncerrado ,y no solo un rato precisamente

@tempestaddepvc: #RatoEncerrado, and not precisely for a while ["rato" also means "while"]

@DoctoraLecter: #RatoEncerrado Y con él todos los culpables de la crisis. Hasta q no estén todos los políticos y banqueros entre rejas no estaremos seguros

@DoctoraLecter: #RatoEncerrado And with him all those who are guilty of the crisis. Until all the politicians and bankers are behind bars, we won't be save

@Howard_Klenex:  Tiene para #RatoEncerrado

@Howard_Klenex: It'll take a #RatoEncerrado

@juanenruta: #RatoEncerrado junto con los que nos han robado 20 años de futuro

@juanenruta: #RatoEncerrado along with those who have stolen us 20 years of future

‏@AdelardoVah:  Leer la lista de TT y que te salga la frase #SoyFelizCon #RatoEncerrado Qué curioso

@AdelardoVah: Read the TT list and the phrase #SoyFelizCon [I'm happy with] #RatoEncerrado. How intriguing

‏@ErFilos: Cada vez me gusta más lo que #15M hace para cambiar la sociedad, y el sistema. #RatoEncerrado ojalá salga algo positivo!

@ErFilos: I like more and more what #15M is doing to change the society and the system. #RatoEncerrado Hope something positive comes out of it!

@pedro_paramo_c: #Islandia, modelo silenciado y oculto: un ejemplo para el mundo (o el poder de las cacerolas) #RatoEncerrado

@pedro_paramo c: #Islandia [Iceland] silent and dark mode: an example to the world (or the power of pot banging)

@iaioflautas: De viaje de vuelta. De Madrid al cielo, querella pa'Rato, lo vamos a conseguir #RatoEncerrado #iaioflautasontheroute

@iaioflautas: On my way back. From Madrid to heaven, the complaint against Rato, we are going to make it #RatoEncerrado #iaioflautasontheroute

Social media have played a key role in the campaign. Like one of its member pointed out since the initiative was presented under the hashtag #15MpaRato last May 23, “success on the Internet has been permanent.”

All the hashtags that have been promoted have become trending topics in Spain in less than 15 minutes and some have even reached an international level. “This campaign cannot be conceived outside the web, because it has been its loud speaker and media, and it has demonstrated the maturity with which 15M is working on the across the net,” this person said.

This is the actions and hashtags timeline:

  • May 23: #15MpaRato, campaign starts.
  • May 29: #AcciónpaRato, shareholders are invited to participate in the complaint.
  • June 1: #iaioflautaspaRato; coordinated groups from Iaioflautas protest in different Bankia offices throughout Spain.
  • June 4: #querellapaRato; the presentation of the “first complaint from the people against the banks” was announced.
  • June 5: #Ratofunding [Funding Rato]; Crowdfunding takes place to raise money to finance the complaint. So many people contributed that the servers of goteo.org colapsed. The objective was to raise 14.000 euros but 18.000 were achieved in less thatn 24 hours eventhough the servers were down for 15 hours.
  • June 6: #AporRato [Let's get Rato]; campaign continues.
  • June 12: #UnRatoalaSombra [Rato to the shadow]; the Press conference is presented and promoted.
  • June 14: #RatoEncerrado, the complaint is presented in Madrid.

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

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