Paschi Stock Swings Said to Be Probed by Italy’s Consob

Italy’s securities regulator Consob is investigating trading in shares of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA over the past month, according to four people with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

As part of the probe, Consob and the finance police are searching the headquarters of Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the bank’s biggest investor, and Monte Paschi’s trading unit in Florence, which acts as the foundation’s broker, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is private.

Consob, based in Rome, is focusing on the stock’s trading on and around March 5 and March 18 amid allegations of market manipulation, said one person. The on-site inspections may last several days, the person said.

Monte Paschi shares jumped the most on record on March 5, gaining 19 percent, amid speculation that the foundation had sold a stake in Italy’s third-biggest bank to a foreign fund. Fondazione denied the sale the following day and completed an offering of 12 percent in the bank on March 18.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sergio Di Pasquale in Milan at sdipasquale1@bloomberg.net; Elisa Martinuzzi in Milan at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.net; Sonia Sirletti in Milan at ssirletti@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net Steve Bailey

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