Monte Paschi Media Chief David Rossi Found Dead, Police Say

The communications chief of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, the Italian bank at the center of a criminal probe for hiding losses before its bailout, was found dead after falling from his office window, police said.

David Rossi’s body was found outside the lender’s headquarters in Siena at about 9 p.m. yesterday and police are conducting an investigation, Romano Colucci, an assistant to Prosecutor Nicola Marini, said by telephone today. Corriere Della Sera reported Rossi, 51, committed suicide, without saying where it got the information.

“Rossi’s death is a terrible tragedy,” the bank said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. “This tragic event imposes above all respect for the person, for the mourning of the family and all of us.”

Rossi was a long-time aide to Giuseppe Mussari, the former chairman of the bank, according to Corriere. He first worked as a spokesman for Monte Paschi’s biggest investor, Fondazione Banca Monte dei Paschi, and then was hired by the bank when Mussari was named chairman in 2006, the newspaper said. Rossi’s house was searched recently amid the Monte Paschi probe, though he wasn’t under investigation, Corriere reported today.

The probe into the world’s oldest bank widened March 5 as prosecutors opened an investigation into allegations of insider trading in the Italian lender’s shares and carried out raids in three cities. Former Monte Paschi managers are already being probed over allegations of obstructing regulators, market manipulation and false accounting related to the acquisition of Banca Antonveneta SpA, people with knowledge of the situation said last month, asking not to be identified.

The lender said on Feb. 6 that assets will be reduced by 730 million euros ($952 million) after a review of structured deals from 2008 and 2009 that hid losses on earlier derivatives.

Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Viola and Chairman Alessandro Profumo, appointed last year to turn around the company, last week received an additional 4.1 billion euros in a taxpayer bailout after failing to meet regulators’ minimum capital requirements.

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