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MPS, Viola and Profumo to go on trial

Siena - The Public Prosecutor’s office in Milan requested that Alessandro Profumoand Fabrizio Viola, the former president and C.E.O. of MPS, and Paolo Salvadori, the former president of the institute’s board of auditors, be put on trial

Siena - The Public Prosecutor’s office in Milan requested that Alessandro Profumo and Fabrizio Viola, the former president and C.E.O. of MPS, and Paolo Salvadori, the former president of the institute’s board of auditors, be put on trial. They are accused of balance sheet fraud and stock manipulation, as part of the investigation concerning the “open balance” accounting for the Santorini and Alexandria derivatives.

The request for a trial sent to the Preliminary Investigations Magistrate’s office by Public Prosecutors Stefano Civardi, Mauro Clerici and Giordano Baggio, is a mandatory step after the request for a case against the three managers was filed last April, and the indictment was ordered by Preliminary Investigations Judge Livio Cristofano.

As part of the same investigation, Acting Attorney General Felice Isnardi, who, after the public prosecutor made the filing against the Siena bank, which was being investigated based on the law on the responsibility of organisations, had ordered greater scrutiny of the bank as prescribed by law, retransmitted the records to the prosecutor so that the investigation could be closed with the filing of the documents in view of the combining of the proceedings with that of Profumo, Viola and Salvadori. This section of the investigation, which was transferred from Siena last summer, is focused on the “open account” accounting of the Santorini and Alexandria derivatives, operations that were carried out through Deutsche Bank and Nomura, respectively.

Public Prosecutors Civardi, Baggio and Clerici, under the direction of Prosecutor Francesco Greco, maintained that Viola, now C.E.O. of Banca Popolare di Vicenza, and Profumo - whose appointment to the leadership of Banca Leonardo was to be approved by the shareholders’ assembly tomorrow - given the “restatement” of MPS’s balance sheet which they carried out and their discovery of the several tricks that were used by those who preceded them to prettify it and hide holes, acted without any intention to falsify the balance sheets nor to hide losses.

Prelimary Investigations Magistrate Cristofano’s reading, on the other hand, was quite different: it was in line with the Codacons, some small shareholders and Giuseppe Bivona, a partner and co-founder of Bluebell Partners, opposing the proposal to file, and supporting the idea of a new expert opinion on MPS’s balance sheets, which Prosecutor Isnardi wanted, seeing presumptively deceitful market activity in the behaviour of the managers, including Salvadori, and stating that the accounting did not resolve the ambiguities over derivatives and that the matter should be examined by a court of law. Seven positions were filed because of this result. A new judge will now decide on the referral to trial.

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