Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
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>>>ANSA/ MPS prosecutors call case 'explosive, tension-filled'

English
© ANSA

Siena, January 29 - Prosecutors investigating
managers at troubled Italian lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena
(MPS) expressed alarm at their findings but divulged few details
Tuesday.
"I can't say anything, the situation is explosive and
tension-filled. We're talking about the third-largest bank in
Italy," said Siena Prosecutor Tito Salerno.
According to judicial sources Tuesday, prosecutors are
probing former president Giuseppe Mussari as well as other
executives for "fraud with respect to the shareholders of
Montepaschi," as the Siena-based bank - the world's oldest - is
called.
The new probe is based on a series of claims presented by
some of the bank's shareholders to Italy's stock market
watchdog, Consob, and to the Bank of Italy, from 2008 to 2011.
The claims focus on Montepaschi's takeover of smaller
lender Antonveneta, which, according to investor claims, was
carried out with insufficient diligence, without the "necessary
authorizations required by banking laws" and for a sum - nine
billion euros - which allegedly overvalued it and caused a
strain on MPS's finances.
The Siena-based lender is also embroiled in a crisis over
lossmaking derivatives trades which could cost it some 720
million euros.
The European Commission recently gave provisional backing
to a 3.9-billion-euro Italian government bond issue for the bank
"to preserve the stability of the Italian financial system".
The bonds, dubbed 'Monti-bonds' after outgoing Premier
Mario Monti, must be paid back by MPS at market rates.
If they are not, the State will take out shares in the
bank.
MPS on Friday approved capital increases to pay back the
bonds.
Italian Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli on Tuesday hinted
that MPS could face nationalization if it fails to pay the money
back, though he ruled out a bailout.
Meanwhile, authorities confirmed Monday that the bank faces
at least two tax audits.
The scandal has rocked the country's financial
establishment and also renewed criticism of the alleged mingling
of banking and politics in Italy.
MPS, through its foundation, has historically been linked
to the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which has long been
dominant in Siena and the rest of Tuscany.

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