Bank of Italy boss in corruption probe

Ignazio Visco, the governor of Italy’s central bank, is being investigated over allegations of corruption, fraud and abuse of office related to the sale last year of Banca Popolare di Spoleto (BPS).

Bank of Italy boss in corruption probe
Bank of Italy governor Ignazio Visco is being investigated for corruption. Photo: Toru Yamanaka/AFP

Citing court documents, The Wall Street Journal reported that seven other people are also being investigated in connection with the sale last year to Banco di Desio e della Brianza.

Prosecutors in Spoleto, a town in Umbria, opened the investigation following a complaint by more than 100 shareholders of BPS who allege the bank rejected an offer from Hong Kong-based NIT Holdings even though it was €100 million higher than the one offered by Desio.

The shareholders reportedly lost between €300 million and €350 million as a result of the sale of BPS, which was placed under “special administration” in 2013 after an inspection by the Bank of Italy uncovered irregularities and a lack of capital.

The Bank of Italy said in a statement that it “could not comment on recent developments at BPS, on which prosecutors are reportedly investigating.”

Neither Visco, who has been the Bank of Italy's governor since October 2011, nor the seven others have been charged with a crime.

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Germany cracks down on fake Covid vaccine documents

German police have set up a special team to fight a growing number of forged vaccine certificates being sold in the black market

Germany cracks down on fake Covid vaccine documents
People who are fully vaccinated can show their vaccination booklet, which has a stamp and a sticker inside. Photo: Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

Police in Cologne have warned of a group of fraudsters selling fake vaccination certificates, a growing problem the scale of which is still unclear.

The police said the fraudsters worked in encrypted Telegram chats, making investigations difficult, and were selling fake documents with all the stamps and signatures, including a mark about vaccination with BioNTech or AstraZeneca.

READ ALSO: Germany probes Covid-19 testing centres for fraud

The fraud involved both real traffic in fake documents as well as scams luring customers into paying €100.

People in Germany who are fully vaccinated can show their vaccination booklet, which has a stamp and a sticker inside. Those who don’t have a booklet get a piece of paper.

Covid health passes are currently being rolled out across the EU, with a European health passport expected to be available from mid-June.

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on how the EU’s ‘Covid passports’ will work for travellers?

Over 44% of the adult population in Germany has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and more than 18% of Germans have been fully vaccinated.

German police have said forged coronavirus vaccine documents are becoming an increasing problem.

Last month, a couple in Baden-Württemberg was accused of selling fake coronavirus vaccination certificates.