Ligresti Family Members Arrested in Fondiaria-SAI Probe

Members of Italy’s Ligresti family, who once controlled insurer Fondiaria-SAI SpA, were arrested today on charges of false accounting and market manipulation, police said.

The family’s patriarch, Salvatore Ligresti, and his two daughters, were among seven people taken into custody by Italy’s financial police, according to an e-mailed statement from its Turin office. They are accused of misleading at least 12,000 investors by concealing 600 million euros ($789 million) of losses at Fondiaria-SAI in its 2010 accounts.

Ligresti is under house arrest, while his daughters Giulia Maria and Jonella are being detained at an undisclosed jail, police said. Three former Fondiaria executives, Emanuele Erbetta, Antonio Talarico and Fausto Marchionni also have been charged. An arrest warrant was issued for Gioacchino Paolo Ligresti, one of Salvatore Ligresti’s sons, is in Switzerland, police said.

Gian Luigi Tizzoni, a defense attorney for the Ligrestis, wasn’t immediately available to comment on the case.

According to the police statement, the Ligrestis underestimated the company’s reserves for outstanding insurance claims, allowing it to distribute 253 million euros of earnings to the family holding company Premafin Finanziaria SpA, instead of losses.

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