Corruption allegations are back in the headlines for Spanish voters already hyper-sensitive to the issue ahead of elections this year, as former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato is searched in a tax and money laundering probe. Hayley Platt reports.
An apartment block in Madrid, home to former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato. Moments after police enter, they emerge with the 66 year-old suspected of fraud and money laundering. This was Spain - but the news was of particular interest to Argentina. President Cristina Fernandez shared how Rato had criticised the country's economy when he was head of the IMF between 2004 to 2007. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ARGENTINE PRESIDENT CRISTINA FERNANDEZ, SAYING: "Detained for laundering money-- that's who used to come and tell us how we had to direct and manage our economy; moreover, it was they who even dared to talk about corruption in Argentina's politics." Rato was also former Spanish Prime Minister Aznar's deputy in the centre-right Popular Party before being implicated in two other judicial cases. The alleged misuse of company credit cards for personal use whilst chairman of Bankia bank. And separately over whether the bank's stock market floatation in 2011 was flawed. Rato denies wrongdoing in both cases. CMC Market's Michael Hewson. SOUNDBITE: Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst, CMC Markets, saying (English): "The IMF have been through crisis like these before, notably with Dominique Strauss-Kahn having to resign a few years ago. To be quite honest the Fund's credibility isn't that great in any case given the fact that it's missed pretty much all its targets with respect to its predictions on what's been going on in Greece so I think it's much more of a political problem for Mr Rajoy than a problem for the IMF." Rato was later released after cooperating with the authorities. But his arrest won't go unnoticed. Corruption is among Spanish voters' top concerns. And with a general election at the end of the year, Prime Minister Rajoy's PP party is expected to lose votes over its connections with the party's disgraced former deputy.