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Consumer Group Asks Prosecutors to Examine Monte Paschi

Codacons, a consumer group, asked prosecutors in Rome and Siena to investigate Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA’s managers for falsifying Italy’s third-largest bank’s accounts.

Monte Paschi’s 2012 balance sheet includes “significant irregularities,” Rome-based Codacons said on its website today. The bank improperly classified 7 billion euros ($9.2 billion) of derivatives as government bonds and correlated operations to hide as much as 2 billion euros in losses, the group said.

Codacons also challenged state aid received by the Siena-based bank on the grounds it was obtained by misrepresenting the lender’s finances. In addition, Codacons asked prosecutors to investigate the supervision of Monte Paschi by the Bank of Italy and Consob, the market regulator.

Monte Paschi is being probed by regulators and prosecutors after using derivatives to hide losses. The bank received 4.1 billion euros in February by selling bonds to the government.

Officials at Consob, Bank of Italy and Monte Paschi declined to comment on Codacons’s request for an investigation.

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