Ex-Deutsche Bank Executives Among 13 Charged in Paschi Probe

  • Nomura, Paschi staff also charged for falsifying bank’s books
  • Judge schedules trial to begin in Milan on December 15

Six current and former managers of Deutsche Bank AG -- including ex-asset and wealth management head Michele Faissola -- along with former executives at Nomura Holdings Inc. and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA were charged in Milan for colluding to falsify the accounts of Italy’s third-biggest bank and manipulate the market.

A judge in Milan approved a request by prosecutors to try 13 bankers on charges over separate derivative transactions Paschi arranged with the securities firms, said a lawyer involved in the case, who attended the closed-door hearing Saturday, where the decision was announced.

The charges deal another blow to Deutsche Bank, which is seeking to reassure investors and clients that it will be able to withstand pending U.S. penalties over the bank’s sale of mortgage-backed securities and its dealings with some Russian clients. Monte Paschi, the world’s oldest bank, restated its accounts and has been forced to tap investors twice to replenish capital amid a surge in bad loans and losses on derivatives. It’s now attempting to convince investors to buy billions of soured debt before a fresh stock sale.

Deutsche Bank’s shares have slumped 49 percent in Frankfurt this year, swinging wildly last week on news that hedge-fund clients withdrew some funds. Monte Paschi has dropped 84 percent this year amid concern it will struggle to restore profitability and strengthen its finances.

‘No Responsibility’

“We will put forward our defense in court and have no further comment to make today,” Deutsche Bank said in an e-mailed statement.

“I’m convinced that the debate will definitely show that Nomura has no responsibility over Monte Paschi’s false accounting,” said Guido Alleva, a lawyer for Nomura. A spokeswoman for the Japanese bank and a Paschi spokesman declined to comment.

The charges culminate a three-year investigation by prosecutors that showed Monte Paschi used the transactions to hide losses, leading to a misrepresentation of its accounts between 2008 and 2012. The deals came to light in January 2013, when Bloomberg News reported that Monte Paschi used derivatives struck with Deutsche Bank to mask losses from an earlier derivative contract dubbed Santorini.

Faissola, whose roles included overseeing rates and commodities, was put in charge of Deutsche Bank’s combined asset and wealth management division in 2012 when Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen took over as co-chief executive officers of the Frankfurt-based lender. Deutsche Bank last October said Faissola would leave after a transition period, and John Cryan has replaced Jain and Fitschen as CEO.

Former Deutsche Bank managers Michele Foresti, who oversaw rates and European credit flow trading, and Ivor Dunbar, former co-head of global capital markets, also were also indicted.

Monte Paschi’s former executives Giuseppe Mussari, Antonio Vigni and Gianluca Baldassarri and Nomura’s former bankers Sadeq Sayeed and Raffaele Ricci also will face trial for allegedly obstructing regulators after the investigation revealed that the 2009 deal, dubbed Alexandria, was designed to disguise losses from a previous investment.

Monte Paschi asked for a plea-bargain agreement in July. The lender said at that time that the request was agreed to with prosecutors in the Milan investigation, and if accepted by the judge the bank will need to forfeit 10 million euros ($11.2 million) and pay a fine of 600,000 euros. A decision is expected on Oct. 14.

Deutsche Bank’s Dario Schiraldi, Matteo Vaghi and Marco Veroni as well as Monte Paschi’s Daniele Pirondini and Marco Di Santo will go to trial, which is scheduled to begin on Dec. 15.

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