Italy Court Said to Dismiss Demand That Bank of China Be Charged

A request by Italian prosecutors to indict Bank of China Ltd. and four of its employees for alleged crimes including money laundering was dismissed by a court in Florence because of a procedural error in the handling of the investigation, according to people with knowledge of the case.

Prosecutors in Florence failed to question some of the suspects as requested by their lawyers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The investigating magistrates must notify the suspects again that the probe is completed and give their lawyers the opportunity to present information that may prove their innocence, said one person.

“The position of the four employees and Bank of China has been carved out” and they have been dropped from the preliminary hearing that is still pending in Florence, the bank said in an e-mailed statement.

Proceeds from criminal activities including brand counterfeiting, slavery and prostitution were smuggled to China from Italy between 2006 and 2010 through a money-transfer service, prosecutors have argued. Bank of China’s managers in Milan helped to transfer cash received by the money-transfer company, court papers show.

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