Italy court postpones derivatives trial verdict on ex Monte Paschi execs

FILE PHOTO: Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena Chairman Alessandro Profumo (L) and Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Viola attend a news conference at the company's headquarters in Siena May 10, 2012. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito/File Photo

An Italian appeals court on Monday postponed its verdict in the case of three former executives of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena over derivative deals blamed for playing a part in the downfall of the Tuscan lender, according to Reuters.

The Milan Court of Appeal deferred the verdict to December 11 due to one of the three judges on the panel being unwell.

The verdict is being closely watched by investors in Monte Paschi since the derivatives cases, together with losses suffered by MPS during the euro zone debt crisis, had threatened to destabilise Italy's financial industry and forced the lender to seek an 8 billion euro bailout in 2017.

Lemanik fund manager Andrea Scauri said last week that in the case of an acquittal legal risks would be wiped out for Monte dei Paschi, triggering a release of provisions and the possible advance payment of a dividend.

The bank's former chairman Alessandro Profumo, former CEO Fabrizio Viola and the former president of statutory auditors Paolo Salvadori are defendants in a trial for false accounting and market rigging.

In the initial trial, Profumo and Viola were each handed a jail sentence of six years for allegedly not having correctly booked two derivative transactions, known as Santorini and Alexandria, between 2012 and 2015. Salvadori received three-and-a-half year sentence.

However, the main trial on these same deals affecting the bank's accounts between 2009 and 2011 ended on Oct. 11 with the final acquittal of all 15 defendants, including Deutsche Bank and Nomura, by Italy's highest court.

Milan prosecutors had asked in 2018 for the Viola-Profumo case to be dropped, saying the executives had followed the regulators' accounting guidelines, but the judge rejected the request and sent them to trial.