Paschi Prosecutors File Appeal to Seize Nomura Assets in Probe

Siena prosecutors are seeking to overturn a judge’s ruling that rejected their request to seize assets held by Nomura Holdings Inc. as part of an inquiry into Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA’s use of derivatives to hide losses.

Magistrates filed an appeal in Siena today, according to Giuseppe Grosso, a prosecutor involved in the case. They are seeking authorization from the appeals court to seize as much as 1.95 billion euros ($2.6 billion) of Nomura assets, as well as funds belonging to former managers of the Italian lender.

The prosecutors are investigating claims that Nomura executives colluded with Monte Paschi’s former managers to design one of two derivatives in 2008 and 2009 that hid as much as 557 million euros of losses at the Italian bank.

A Siena judge on April 26 turned down the prosecution’s asset-freeze request, arguing there was no fraud because Monte Paschi’s senior managers were aware of the transactions and their implications, a court filing shows. The judge also said that allegations of usury aren’t founded because Monte Paschi wasn’t under financial strain.

Tokyo-based Nomura, which isn’t under investigation, said last month that it will “vigorously” contest any suggestion of wrongdoing.