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Bank of Spain to consider banning Saenz from industry

Alfredo Saenz

Alfredo Saenz

Spain’s central bank announced on Monday that it has begun formal proceedings to decide whether Alfredo Saenz, the CEO of Spain’s largest lender Banco Santander, will be banned from banking.

The move comes in response to the Spanish Supreme Court’s ruling last month that a government pardon extended to Saenz in 2011 went too far in saying that a criminal record should not affect his ability to work in the banking industry. Under Spanish law, Saenz and the bank will have 10 to 15 days to make their case to the Bank of Spain, Bloomberg reports.

In Spanish banking, “professional virtue” is a requirement for individuals who work in the banking industry and can be overshadowed by or lost under a criminal record. The case involves Saenz’s chairmanship at Banco Espanol de Credito SA, which is not a retail banking arm of Santander.

In 2009, Saenz was convicted of false accusation against debtors during his chairmanship at Santander-owned retail bank Banesto in 1994. He was required to serve a brief jail sentence and was barred from banking for three months, according to Bloomberg.

A bank source said that Saenz planned to appeal the court ruling that removed his pardon and reinstated his criminal record, which could prolong the proceedings, Reuters reports.

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