Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Grilli tells Wall Street Journal MPS bank is still 'solid'

English
© ANSA

Rome, February 11 - Monte dei Paschi di Siena is
still a "solid" bank, Italian Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli
said in an interview Monday with the Wall Street Journal.
Speaking on the sidelines of an Italy-United States
business forum in New York, Grilli noted that the framework for
bank supervision is changing Europe, to become more centralized.
Supervision of the troubled bank has become a central issue
since MPS was thrown into crisis in January, when it emerged
that a shady series of derivative and structured finance deals
produced losses of 720 million euros.
In fact, the amount of "junk" on the bank's books came as a
surprise, Fabrizio Viola, the bank's new chief executive, said
last Friday.
"I didn't expect so much junk under the carpet," Viola said
in a radio interview.
"But frankly, in view of recent events, I wouldn't have
expected to find such a serious situation".
Still, Grilli repeated his reassurances on the bank's
solidity in an interview Monday with the Reuters news agency,
suggesting that the potential losses of MPS won't affect the
overall solid standing of the bank.
Siena prosecutors are conducting a series of probes into
alleged bribery, corruption, tax evasion and other illicit
operations at MPS, which were either related to the bank's
nine-billion-euro acquisition of rival Antonveneta
in 2008 or the period following the takeover.
Before the scandal broke, the Italian government had
approved a 3.9-billion-euro bailout loan to MPS, which may be
converted into equity if the bank cannot make its payments to
the State.
Grilli told the Italian parliament in late January that,
given the share price at the time, the Treasury could wind up
with 82% of the bank's capital if it defaults.
"It wouldn't be tragic (if the Italian treasury became an
MPS shareholder)," Viola said.
"But we are working to avoid it".
Viola has also said there were no more high-risk
derivatives on the bank's books and that "there is no deposit
flight" from Italy's third-biggest lender.

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