14 companies with links to Banca Etruria investigated

Banca Etruria was rescued on Nov. 22 along with three other banks

  ROME - Italian tax police have carried out searches on 14 companies who received funding from the recently rescued Banca Etruria. Banca Etruria was one of four banks, along with Banca Marche, CariFe and CariChiesti, whose recent rescue on November 22 left investors in the possession of almost worthless bonds. 


  The firms are allegedly linked to the former president of the bank, Lorenzo Rosi, and former board member Luciano Nataloni. The aim of the investigation is to collect documents that can aid the police in joining the dots between firms and the bank. 


  The offices investigated were in Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy, police said.


  Rosi and Nataloni are suspected of failing to communicate conflicts of interest. The Arezzo prosecutor's office said it was investigating "a series of company operations that contributed to the bank's financial crisis”.


  "The cases of the 4 most exposed banks are estimated at 1,010 small investors (people with less than 100,000 Euros of savings in the bank) with a concentration of subordinated bonds of half of their assets. The value of these bonds amounted to 27 million euros,” said Minister of the Economy Pier Carlo Padoan. 


  Amongst the small investors left penniless, one of Banca Etruria’s former bondholders, Civitavecchia pensioner Luigi d’Angelo, committed suicide as a result of the scandal on November 28. Other investors are seeking compensation from the government for their losses. 


  The government has since decided to set up a fund of 100 million euros to compensate those investors who can prove that they were coerced into buying into risky bonds.