Angry Spaniards Crowdfund Money To Try To Bring Former Banking Boss To Court For Bank Collapse

from the crowdfunding-justice dept

Francisco sent over an interesting story of how a bunch of people in Spain were able to crowdfund a bunch of money in an attempt to bring Rodrigo Rato, the former chair of one of Spain's largest banks, Bankia, to justice for driving the bank into the ground until it had to be bailed out. In just one day, they were able to blast past the €15,000 they were seeking.

I have to admit that I'm interested in this as an outlet for populist outrage, but I do wonder how effective it really is. An English version of the site claims they plan "criminal and civil actions against members of Bankia's Board of Directors," and they "demand prison and seizure of assets." While they can file civil claims, criminal charges have to come from the government. So the goal is to use the money not just for filing a civil suit, but also to hire independent investigators and auditors to work towards building enough details and evidence that it forces the government to file criminal charges as well. This seems like a project that has a ridiculously high likelihood of failure.

Separately, while I tend to agree that the banks were run by some insanely greedy people who did many questionable things, I think it's going a little mob-like "burn him!" crazy to try to pin the problems on a single person. The global economy is still a mess, and the European economy is in turmoil, with Spain being a big part of that. In other words, there are larger economic issues at play here that go beyond just one banker, even if it turns out that he was a really bad banker.

Either way, though, I am fascinated to see how crowdfunding evolves over time, and the unique ways people use it -- and this is certainly a unique plan.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 12:41pm

    Watch out Angry Birds

    Here come the Angry Spaniards!

     

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    Glen, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 12:54pm

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!!!!

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    One word:

    Mercenaries.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    I don't know.... seems like an awful risk to bank on a modern justice system. We in the US might need to "positively" adapt this approach to crowdsource pork funds which can be used to shore up support for bills that carry any insinuation of civil liberty.

     

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    anon, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Why Not!!!!

    Strange that the author of this post does not find it really necessary to do this, seriously, people have lost a lot of money because these guys are corrupt and inefficient at doing there job while they are paid millions by the way.
    Just let a few of them be bankrupted by the public for there actions and possibly jailed and the rest of them that feel untouchable will soon reign in there gambling with there clients money.
    The other problem is why the government has not investigated and done something to stop bankers destroying there banks and gambling there customers money away, before giving a government bailout. I mean seriously if i was not doing my job correctly the business is not going to give me even more money to correct my mistake just so i can repeat them again.

    There is something very corrupt about what is going on and i suspect that when everyone realizes what has happened they will be calling for more than jail time and if the government is not prepared to correct the wrong i am sure the public will.

     

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      Irving, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

      Re: Why Not!!!!

      You may be overestimating the public; most of them seem quite happy to pretend that just voting for a different politician will solve everything.

       

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      ChrisB (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:49pm

      Re: Why Not!!!!

      > before giving a government bailout

      That is the problem. If banks were allowed to fail, as the free market dictates, then everything would be fine. Idiot bankers who take large risks would be punished, and smart bankers who take sensible risks would be rewarded.

      The WORST thing governments can do is bail-out banks. Sure, there is lots of short term chaos and pain when banks close. But everything in life has risks. If you didn't know what your bank was investing in, then you partially deserve the loss. The reality is bank closures hurt large investors more than regular people. That is why bondholders clammer so much to bail out banks. It isn't to help you and me, it is to help them.

      The thing that is so dumb is Spain's problems are with a housing bubble. Doesn't anybody learn? Back in the day, the only way to make money off real estate was in renting. Now, people think they can buy a condo, wait 3 months, and sell it for a profit. Anyone who loses money this way deserves to go broke.

       

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        S, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

        Re: Re: Why Not!!!!

        Always remember, the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.

         

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        The eejit (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:18pm

        Re: Re: Why Not!!!!

        Bankia has had over €40bn euros for an economy that generates around €125. Esptimates for bailing out Spain's banking system are upwards of €90bn this year. There's some soft evidence that Bankia's directors knew about this and bet on the banks being bailed out, instead of letting it fail.

        I'd call that defrauding the country.

         

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    arcan, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:05pm

    could we do that here to get funds to find evidence that the RIAA MPAA and the justice department are abusing laws and breaking the constitution?

     

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    Paul Brinker, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

    If this works

    If it works it sends a message that others can follow. Soon as someone famous does something really dumb a lawyer can put out a crowdfunding link, state that if he reaches the goal that he will file a civil suit for the actions and demand discovery that should give way for criminal charges.

    Its one of the few times I like lots of starving out of work lawyers as they can just go after people for fucking things up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

    All this is is just a paywall to demand justice. Everyone knows that crowdsourcing is the biggest scam/paywall of all.

    /paywallbob

     

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    Another Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    Private Prosocution

    It is not safe to assume that the laws in other countries mirror US law.

    "Unlike U.S. law, where criminal charges are brought only by a government prosecutor, Spanish law allows ordinary citizens to pursue criminal actions by filing criminal complaints."

    See http://www.cja.org/article.php?id=342

     

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      G Thompson (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:24pm

      Re: Private Prosocution

      this +100000000

      Stop assuming everyone that US law is the law of the world.

      European law is different to English law, English law is different to US law, Justice is barely a part of any law

      Ok.. I threw that last one in to see if anyone is paying attention ;)

       

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    pyrosf (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:18pm

    - You may be overestimating the public; most of them seem quite happy to pretend that just voting for a different politician will solve everything.

    The public only think this way because there are no proven alternatives. When someone proves an alternative you get a game changer that can swing power the other way as people can then "vote with there wallet" by putting money into lawsuits to challenge the establishment.

    Of course as soon as this happens someone with more money will plug the loophole that allowed a person in power to go down to the mob.

    Its just a legal arms race.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Rodrigo Rato?

    LoL

    Now there is a funny irony.

    The word "rato" in spanish means "rat", a banker named rat is just priceless.

     

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      Mason Wheeler, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

      Re:

      Wrong. "Rata" means rat. "Rato" means rate, or also "time," as in "por un rato" (for a little while).

       

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      Bankiller, Jun 15th, 2012 @ 4:40am

      Re:

      Rata= Rat. Rato is like "a moment" or something like that hehe. But it's similar ;). And Rodrigo Rato is a rat, of course

       

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    JeroenW (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:31pm

    they got a point

    The current crisis was partly caused by influences out of Europe but also by banks here. Some banks have had presidents who've made messes big enough to warrant an action like this.

    I kinda like this, hope this will be followed elsewhere. There's a lot of "burn him" sentiment all over, can't say I really blame people.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    the ordinary people, as usual, are being not only expected to but forced to pay for the greed of the financial institutions, while those that were actually responsible get away virtually Scott free. that isn't right, it isn't fair and i for one dont blame these people for trying to get the wrongs that were inflicted on them righted. good luck to them! oh, and i'll bet a $ that if they are successful, not only will they be the best thing since sliced bread, everyone else will be trying the same thing!

     

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    Machin Shin (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    And all I can think is....

    "Hello!! My name is Inigo Montoya!"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    There are times where I sometimes wish it was legally possible to perform a "witch hunt" on people like sleezy bankers, corrupt politicians, some lobbyists (like the RIAA/MPAA) and pedophiles.

     

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    pyrosf (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:10pm

    We already preform Witch Hunts on Pedophiles, Go talk to the pediatrician who was confused for a Pedophile who had his address given out and started getting death threats.

    As well as the 18 year old who was caught kissing his 17 year old girl friend in the wrong town.

    Or the guy who was naked in his own house, seen from people who were cutting across his lawn, then arrested while in bed for trumped up charges.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:45pm

      Re:

      those last two are incredably stupid. the first one tells us that there were ignorant (and not terribly smart) people involved... but the second just shouldn't be an issue at ALL (how would anyone even Know unless they were close to one party or the other and were acting in malice?) and the third should result in a trespass case...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:28pm

    The biggest fear that the bankers, the stockbroker types, and the governments have is the populace rioting over these give-a-ways. This in part is what is the real driving force behind spying on all the citizens, social apps, cell phone locations, and data collecting being done by the government. Nor is it a new idea or methodology as far as the average citizens reaction.

    It is better known by the handle of 'Peasants with pitchforks'.

     

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    Wolfy, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:51pm

    OK... I have to say it. People, please learn your own language... "There" is a place. "Their" is possessive.

     

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    pyro, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:14pm

    Strange...

    Strange... I thought this is what a government should be doing... You know, representing the people...

     

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    Angry spaniard, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 5:18am

    Mr. Rato is just the tip of the iceberg.

    "We" chose him because he is the most visible head of all this mess, he was an important person inside the party that's currently in Spain's government (Partido Popular), when he left the party on 2004 he ended in the IMF managing it disastrously, and in 2010 he became the president of the bank Bankia, leading it towards a bailout.

    That said, the endless connection of former politicians with these poorly managed banks explains by itself why the Spanish justice is so silent about this issue. The list of alleged corrupt politicians is as big as the irregularities in banks businesses and managing of the public money. As we see everyday, justice is not as independent as we'd like to.

    No one with power wants others to talk because they're all so full of sh**; so they keep each other happy and not willing to say anything by giving them(selves) useless jobs (*ejem* counselors) in the top management of important enterprises or public institutions, or retiring them with huge compensations.

    This crowdfunding, at least, shows them that they're not untouchable, that there's people out there that will not wait arms crossed. And also, it proves the strenght of the Internet to gather people towards something fair and show ourselves that we're not alone, and that we're not the only ones seeking for justice.

    If everything goes as planned, enough evidence will be found and we'll see Mr. Rato facing a judge, if everything goes BETTER than planned, he will not be the only one.

    Cheers!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 6:14am

    Next up: Crowdfunded Assassinations.

     

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    Conquistador Anónimo, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    If you paid for Spanish lessons ask for your money back.

    Wrong. "Rata" means rat. "Rato" means rate, or also "time," as in "por un rato" (for a little while).

    "Rato" does not mean rate nor time, but a "time frame", especially a short one as in "por un rato". Rate is "grado", "índice", "ratio"

    Also, "rato" (or "ratón") does mean rat -- a male rat. So yes, this banker was appropriately named a rat.

     

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    jee, Jun 13th, 2012 @ 10:21pm

    bankers

    It is individual people who brought all this about.

     

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    99percenter, Sep 23rd, 2012 @ 2:44am

    youtube.com/watch?v=n8pLHoVqGLI

    Never forget that bankers greed from the World Trade Centre blood, and the lies and miselling of mortgages and manipulation of people, created this world financial crisis, this BBC video explains how it was done and shows some of the leading players. It goes onto say why the governments relaxed the regulations and then were forced to help the banks with our tax money, and how the bankers are spending our money today. It's all based on blood money and it's sickening. Some of the 1% don't deserve what they have. Please watch and get angry.

     

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