Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 17:51 UK

Ex-Italy bank boss to stand trial

Antonio Fazio, former Bank of Italy governor
Antonio Fazio gave up his lifetime post as governor of the Bank of Italy

The former governor of Italy's central bank will stand trial this autumn over his role in a banking takeover.

Antonio Fazio faces market rigging charges stemming from 2005 when Banca Popolare Italiana tried to buy another Italian lender Banca Antonveneta.

The Bank of Italy boss was accused of trying to block bids by Spanish and Dutch rivals, although Dutch giant ABN Amro finally won the takeover battle.

Mr Fazio has strenuously denied any allegations of wrongdoing.

The takeover battle drew a lot of attention onto Italy's financial sector and raised concerns that the Bank of Italy was being unfairly protective of its local lenders.

Mr Fazio came under fire after transcripts of a taped phone conversation were leaked.

The perception at the time was that this affair did huge damage to the country
Simon Maughan
Fox Pitt Kelton

It was alleged after the leak that Mr Fazio wanted to keep Banca Antonveneta in Italian hands.

The scandal forced the governor of the Bank of Italy to quit his life-time appointment at the central bank.

At the time, the affair cast a long shadow over Italy's most senior bankers, analysts said.

"The perception at the time was that this affair did huge damage to the country," said Simon Maughan, banking analyst at Fox Pitt Kelton.

"It's important for Italy to be seen to be doing something finally," he added.

The Milan judge also ordered Banca Popolare Italiana's chief executive Gianpiero Fiorani and 16 others to stand trial on 23 October.

Italy aims to oust fighting Fazio
19 Dec 05 |  Business
Pressure mounts on Fazio to quit
16 Dec 05 |  Business
Italian bank shake-up approved
02 Sep 05 |  Business
Phone police spy on Italians
10 Oct 05 |  Europe

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