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CRIME

Bankers acquitted in Italy over derivatives scandal

An Italian appeals court on Friday acquitted 13 former top officials from Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS), Deutsche Bank, and Nomura over a long-running derivatives scandal.

The logo of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank is seen on the window of a branch in downtown Rome.
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.

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CRIME

Italy records sharp rise in femicides over the past year

Murders of women in Italy increased by nearly 16 percent over the past year, with the vast majority committed by a partner or ex-partner.

Italy records sharp rise in femicides over the past year

Data from Italy’s interior ministry on Monday showed there were 125 femicides between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022, compared with 108 during the same period in the previous year.

Of that number, the vast majority of murders — 108 — were committed within the family sphere or an emotional context, while 68 murders, or 63 percent of the total, were committed by the victim’s partner or ex-partner, data showed.

There were a total of 319 murders in Italy in the period.

The numbers show that, on average, a woman is killed every three days in Italy.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: ‘Violence against women conditions every aspect of our lives’

According to a November report by the European Institute for Gender Equality, Italy came in ninth out of 15 EU member states for the number of murders of women by intimate partners, based on 2018 data.

It came in tenth when looking at homicide committed by family members and relatives.

Womens’ rights campaigners say attitudes must change in Italy, where cases of violent crimes committed against women by their partners or ex-partners are often portrayed in the media as tragic stories of love gone sour, with the killers described as “jealous”.

READ ALSO: Almost half of Italian women report suffering sexual harassment

Almost 3.5 million women in Italy have been victims of stalking, according to data from national statistics agency Istat – but only 22 percent of those report the act or seek help.

Around one in three Italian women suffer abuse at some point in their life.

Femicide commonly refers to the killing of a girl or woman by a partner or family member.

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