Italy’s Consob Claims Monte Paschi Obstructed Regulator

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA’s management was accused by Italy’s market regulator Consob of obstructing its supervisory duties last year by giving incorrect or incomplete information on past financing and derivatives deals that led to a fraud probe.

Consob wrote in a note to prosecutors in Siena dated Feb. 15 that the bailed-out bank misled the regulator between April 2012 and July 2012 in response to Consob request for information on the financing of Banca Antonveneta SpA’s purchase in 2008, according to a document reviewed by Bloomberg News and originally obtained by consumer group Codacons.

Monte Paschi also withheld information on a derivative contract with Nomura Holdings Inc. in its communications to the regulator from November 2011 through October 2012, Consob said in the document. The Rome-based agency asked prosecutors to start a probe into alleged regulator obstruction, the document said.

The claims by consumer group are “groundless,” the bank said today in a statement. Monte Paschi said the lender’s current management is not the subject “in any way” of the supervisory procedures.

Magistrates are accusing former executives, including ex-chairman Giuseppe Mussari and General Manager Antonio Vigni of withholding information from regulators about how the bank financed its purchase of Antonveneta. Prosecutors are also probing whether former managers at Monte Paschi, which piled up losses of 7.9 billion euros ($10.6 billion) in the past two years, used derivative contracts to obscure more than 700 million euros of losses.

Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Viola, 55, and Chairman Alessandro Profumo, 56, took the helm last year to revive profit after the acquisition of Antonveneta and investments in sovereign debt and derivatives hurt capital an finances.

A Consob spokesman declined to comment.

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