Judge drops probe into Bank of Italy governor in Spoleto case - Metro US

Judge drops probe into Bank of Italy governor in Spoleto case

Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco attends the session 'Recharging Europe' in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

MILAN (Reuters) – An Italian judge has dropped an investigation of the governor of the Bank of Italy and seven other officials over the collapse and sale of Banca Popolare di Spoleto (BPS), a court document said on Tuesday.

The document, seen by Reuters, said no elements had emerged to back up the allegations.

Prosecutors investigating Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco and the other seven for possible fraud and corruption had asked for the probe, which began last year, to be shelved.

The Bank of Italy had requested that BPS be put under special administration in February 2013 after an inspection the previous year found serious irregularities and large capital losses at the small lender.

The central bank then picked another small Italian bank, Banco di Desio e della Brianza , to take over BPS by buying a majority stake through a share issue reserved for Banca Desio, which now owns 81.7 percent of BPS.

The operation drastically reduced the value of other stakes in BPS, and a lawyer representing around 100 minority shareholders took their case to the prosecutors, arguing the Bank of Italy had refused a better offer for BPS from a different bidder.

(Reporting by Luca Trogni)

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