The logo of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank is seen on the window of a branch in downtown Rome. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
“Justice has been served. I’ve always believed in my clients’ innocence,” Giuseppe Iannaccone, lawyer for the Deutsche defendants, told AFP.
The Milan court overturned the 2019 convictions for allegedly helping Monte dei Paschi, the oldest bank in the world, hide hundreds of millions of euros in losses between 2008 and 2012, finding no crime had been committed.
The scandal, concerning false accounting, share manipulation, and obstructing regulators from Consob, Italy’s stock exchange watchdog, rocked BMPS, which has long been deemed a weak link in Italy’s banking system.
Prosecutors claimed derivatives trades called Santorini and Alexandria were used, in collusion with Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Japan’s Nomura, to hide losses equivalent to two billion euros ($2.2 billion).
The bankers, including former BMPS chairman Giuseppe Mussari and ex-chief executive Antonio Vigni, six former employees of Deutsche Bank and two of Nomura, were sentenced to up to seven years jail in the original trial.
The Milan court on Friday also ordered the release of about 150 million euros in seized assets from Deutsche Bank and Nomura, according to Italy’s Sole 24 Ore financial daily.
Deutsche Bank said it welcomed the verdict, while Nomura told AFP it was “pleased”.
Founded in Siena in 1472, BMPS has been in deep trouble since the eurozone debt crisis and is now majority-owned by the Italian state following a 2017 bailout.
Earlier Friday it reported a first quarter profit of 9.7 million euros, down 92 percent from the same period in 2021.