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Jan 29, 2013

Audit committee raised alarm over Monte Paschi risky deals

SIENA, Italy, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Monte dei Paschi’s
risk control unit and its internal audit committee
expressed serious misgivings about the bank’s finance
department, now at the centre of a scandal over structured
finance trades, as far back as 2009, according to internal

Monte dei Paschi has been under fire over three loss-making
derivatives deals that its new management say only recently came
to light. The deals forced the bank, Italy’s third largest, to
request extra state aid last November.

Jan 29, 2013

Profumo battles to drag Monte dei Paschi from mire

MILAN/SIENA, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Alessandro Profumo went to
Monte dei Paschi to stage a financial turnaround; now one of
Italy’s most renowned bankers must also drag the 540-year-old
institution out of a legal and political mire.

Profumo faces the toughest challenge of his long career as
he tries to shake off the legacy of heavy losses on derivatives
trading under previous managers at Italy’s third-largest bank,
as well as suspicions of bribery during a 2007 takeover deal.

Jan 28, 2013

Monte Paschi’s financial secrets not so safe

MILAN (Reuters) – The loss-making trades at the center of a scandal at Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena’s were only uncovered when new executives unlocked a safe at the bank’s historic headquarters in Tuscany.

A secret document about a derivative trade called Alexandria discovered in the safe in October prompted an internal probe that has, so far, uncovered losses of up to 720 million euros ($969 million) and prompted public fury over the alleged failure of the central bank and politicians to detect the deals.

Jan 28, 2013

Italy’s Monte Paschi finds no evidence of takeover bribes

MILAN, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Italy’s troubled Monte dei Paschi
bank said on Monday it had no evidence of bribery in a
2007 takeover now under scrutiny over alleged corruption, but
acknowledged accounting irregularities under previous management
over derivatives trades.

Fabrizio Viola, appointed as chief executive last year after
a clean-out of Monte dei Paschi’s old management, said the bank
had used complex refinancing deals to hide losses, leaving it
dangerously exposed to interest rates swings.

Jan 27, 2013

Italy central bank approves Monte Paschi bailout request

ROME/MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s central bank on Saturday gave its approval to a request by scandal hit bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena for 3.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion) of state loans, the latest step in the battle to revive the ailing bank.

The Bank of Italy’s backing was the final stage required to free up the financial help for Italy’s third biggest lender, which this week revealed loss-making derivatives trades that could cost it about 720 million euros.

Jan 26, 2013

Bank of Italy board meets to assess Monte Paschi crisis

ROME/MILAN (Reuters) – The four-member board of the Bank of Italy was meeting on Saturday to consider the position of scandal-hit bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena and decide whether to authorize its request for 3.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion) of state loans.

Italy’s third-largest bank this week revealed loss-making derivatives trades that could cost it about 720 million euros, sinking its shares and prompting questions about how the risky deals could have been hidden from regulators.

Jan 25, 2013

Italy’s crisis-hit Monte dei Paschi: half a millennium in banking

SIENA, Italy (Reuters) – When the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank was founded in 1472, Michelangelo was not born, Columbus had still to discover America and Henry VIII of England had yet to split from the church of Rome.

More than half a millennium later, the world’s oldest bank is facing nearly $1 billion of trading losses in a scandal that has forced Italian authorities to issue reassurances about the stability of the Siena institution.

Jan 25, 2013

Italy’s Monte Paschi faces shareholder fury as scandal widens

SIENA, Italy, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Enraged shareholders of
Monte Paschi bank lashed out at its management on Friday as
questions grew about central bank oversight of the historic
lender following the uncovering of nearly $1 billion of losses
in complex derivatives deals.

The turmoil surrounding Italy’s third largest bank has
rocked the country’s financial establishment and exposed both
the government and the Bank of Italy to difficult questions over
how the risky deals could have been hidden from regulators.

Jan 25, 2013

Italy’s Monti calls for investigation of Monte Paschi scandal

SIENA, Italy (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti called on Friday for an immediate investigation of a widening scandal at Monte dei Paschi di Siena over the historic bank’s losses of nearly $1 billion in a series of complex derivatives deals.

Monti defended the Bank of Italy, whose governor at the time of the losses was Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank chief now facing criticism for failing to spot the trouble brewing at Monte Paschi.

Jan 24, 2013

Italy’s Monti steps into Monte Paschi scandal

MILAN (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti weighed in to the scandal surrounding Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) on Thursday, rejecting suggestions the authorities had failed to spot large trading losses threatening the bank.

Already in need of a 3.9 billion-euro bailout, Monte dei Paschi this week revealed loss-making derivatives trades which could cost it as much as 720 million euros (605 million pounds), lurching centre stage in a crucial general election campaign.