Super Mario Noose Tightens As Another Monte Paschi Derivative Emerges; Investigation Into Bank Of Italy Opened

Tyler Durden's picture

As we have been reporting over the past ten days (most extensively here and here), the one European scandal that gets virtually no coverage on this side of the Atlantic, remains the escalating fiasco involving Italy's third largest bank, Banca dei Monte Paschi, which gets worse by the day due to its extensive political implications - the bank is seen domestically as the domain of the frontrunning centre-left candidate, something Berlusconi reminds his followers at every opportunity, but also will likely ensnare the head of the ECB as we predicted a week ago when we noted the aggressive attempts by the Bank of Italy, which was headed by the former Goldmanite at the time, to wash its hands of having had anything to do with the BMPS fiasco (and thus by implication indemnify that other Goldmanite, Mario Monti).

As it turns out, and as Bloomberg reports today, the Bank of Italy did know of Monte Paschi's dirty laundry as long ago as 2010, but more importantly, and hence the title, the Italian law (and we use the term loosely) is now in play: "Prosecutors in Trani, Italy, opened an investigation into the Bank of Italy and market watchdog Consob’s supervisory activity on Monte Paschi, consumer group Adusbef said in an e- mailed statement today." Adding fuel to the fire is the just blasted headline from Reuters that Monte Paschi is now under investigation in Siena under law on company responsibility for crimes committed by staff, and suddenly life for the ECB head, not to mention the "stabeeleetee" of the banking sector looks quite problematic.

From Bloomberg:

The Bank of Italy under former Governor Mario Draghi spotted accounting irregularities that allowed Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA to mask losses more than two years before the lender was forced to say it will have to restate profit.


In 2010, “a problem came to light” on Monte Paschi’s booking of a structured deal called Santorini, Italy’s Rome- based central bank said in a report dated Jan. 28. The Bank of Italy alerted “other authorities” a year later and talks with those regulators, which it didn’t identify, haven’t concluded. It didn’t explain the delay in forcing the bank to disclose the information.


“I would have expected the Bank of Italy to have requested transparency from Monte Paschi back in 2010 after reviewing the transactions,” said Carlo Alberto Carnevale-Maffe, professor of business strategy at Milan’s Bocconi University. “Hidden documents found recently wouldn’t have changed the substance of the original findings.”


The Bank of Italy said that as early as 2010 it sought daily liquidity reports from the lender as margin calls on Santorini drained funds. The regulator said a week ago Monte Paschi hid documents, impeding its analysis of the “true nature” of the company’s dealings.

It got full reports, and did nothing. So naturally, the spin continues:

Regulatory oversight of Monte Paschi was “continuous and thorough” and the bank remains solid even with a capital shortfall and possible losses linked to structured deals, Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli said in parliament yesterday.

"Solid" after its third bailout in three years? Italian sure have some loose definitions.

And while the key fallout in this case is political, for now, with most of the heat falling on the Democratic Party's Bersani, who runs the local government in Siena where BMPS is based, the spotlight may and will soon shift to none other than everyone's favorite currency manipulator.

Draghi, 65, led the Bank of Italy from 2005 to 2011, when he left to succeed Jean-Claude Trichet, 70, at the helm of the European Central Bank. He has worked as an economics professor in Italy, a financial diplomat at the World Bank, a bureaucrat at his country’s Treasury and a banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) In December 2005, he was named to replace Italian central bank Governor Antonio Fazio, 76.


Officials for the Bank of Italy didn’t have an immediate comment. Asked about Draghi’s role in overseeing Monte Paschi, an ECB spokeswoman declined to comment.


Prosecutors in Trani, Italy, opened an investigation into the Bank of Italy and market watchdog Consob’s supervisory activity on Monte Paschi, consumer group Adusbef said in an e- mailed statement today. The investigation follows a complaint submitted by the lobby earlier this year.


The Bank of Italy’s role isn’t to “police” Monte Paschi, the current governor, Ignazio Visco, 63, said Jan. 25 in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Davos, Switzerland.


The Bank of Italy “summoned the senior management of Monte Paschi” and of the foundation that is its biggest shareholder in November 2011 “to make them face up to their responsibilities and ask Paschi to quickly and definitively turn around the way it conducts its business,” the report said.

But wait there is more.

Because while the bulk of the previously disclosed legacy derivative deals took place during the "Old Normal" before Italy had to be bailed out each and every day (current eye of the hurricane notwithstanding), yet another derivative deal has emerged, just as we predicted when we said that loads more of dirty laundry will emerge as follows: "Of course there will be more "cases" - to assume this is isolated is the height of stupidity and naivete, but what else is an Italian minister to do to preserve the precarious stability attained after months of endless bluster from the ECB that Europe is "fine" - why pull a Juncker and lie of course." Sure enough:

Monte Paschi risks further losses of as much as 500 million euros on a 2010 securitization of about 1.5 billion euros of real estate loans, dubbed “Chianti Classico,” weekly Panorama said today, citing documents that include minutes of board meetings from November and December of last year. A Monte Paschi official didn’t have an immediate comment on the report.

And while over the weekend the Bank of Italy gave its blessings to a third bailout of the troubled lender, not even that seems guaranteed:

Italian consumer association Codacons is seeking to block Monte Paschi’s bailout. The group said it will file a complaint in a Rome administrative court against the Cabinet, Economy Ministry, Italy’s central bank and market regulator Consob, seeking 3.9 billion euros in damages from the Bank of Italy for not adequately monitoring the bank’s activities.


Codacons’ request follows criticism about the central bank’s supervision raised by some politicians, including former Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti and another consumer group, Adusbef.

Because should the latest bailout of BMPS fail, and a rigorous investigation into what is truly going on in the Italian banks' balance sheets take place, the brief lull that Europe has been in in the past few months will abruptly end.

Sure enough, the local market may already be getting a whiff of the buried bodies, because as reported earlier, the local market just  suffered its worst drubbing in six months, with BMPS halted limit down into the close.

And with Italian elections in less than one month, and Monte Paschi suddenly the biggest leverage the opposition has against the status quo, expect for many more cockroaches to emerge in the coming days.

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unrulian's picture

"Super Mario Noose Tightens...." can only dream

Thomas's picture

Draghi sounds like a vampire to me.

reload's picture

how do you say


                   in Italian?

pods's picture

I wonder if the SEC will get excited by the mentioning of this investigation out of TRANI, Italy?


EscapeKey's picture

The SEC only really investigates peasants, so that would be a 'no'.

lewy14's picture

You know, if this were presented as fiction, that town name wouldn't be credible. "Too cute".

TNTARG's picture

Bancarotta. Fallimento. Fiaschi di Siena, d'Italia, di tutta la maledetta Unione Europea!

How do you say? Bitchezzzzzzzzzzzzz!

C'est a dire: Puttane!

walküre's picture

When is the Italian Labor Minister telling the truth how bankrupt the nation really is?

TNTARG's picture

When are Western's governments telling the truth about how bankrupt their nations are, thanks to banksters and themselves?

Organized crime, that's what they are.

TNTARG's picture

(At least the zimbabwean government had the balls).

Freddie's picture

These guys make Silvio B look like an altar boy.

azzhatter's picture

Oh yeah, seeing this ex Goldensac fuckstick hanging from a lamp post would be a dream come true. Him, Benny, Corzine, Blankfein, Dimon, Fuld, Thain, Mozilo would probably give me chubby

davidsmith's picture

So...what happens when Mario's body is found hanging from an overpass?

StychoKiller's picture

Does he have bricks in his pockets?

Dick Darlington's picture

That Draghi dude, hailed by the ever clueless MSM, sure has been busy fighting for stabeeleteee. MPS, greek swaps, LTRO, OMT, You name it.

Rip van Wrinkle's picture

Clueless MSM? You think cueless, I think implicated.

kaa1016's picture

The world is a powder keg sitting on another Bear Stearns CDO type ignition to put us on the brink of another potential systemic meltdown. A lot people think the shit hit the fan when Lehman went under. It was actually June 2007 when things started to break, yet the market hit new highs later on that year and lost 50% over the next 18 months. It feels like 2007 all over again.

walküre's picture

we've never left the Twilight Zone

world_debt_slave's picture

Compared to the current farce the Twilight Zone would be a welcome relief.

walküre's picture

Reminds me of the story where the guys are stuck in a model train scene and can't escape. That's how it feels when you're surrounded by nothing but wax and paper mache.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

The world is a powder keg sitting on explosive bullshit.

There is a sprint to the microphones to fucking actually say a negative GDP print is okay because consumption was up and private sector activity was up AND THAT IS ALL SANDY REBUILDING THAT IS GOING TO END SOON.

The government reductions are going to continue.  This is all insane.  This print is reality, not the twisting it to imaginary celebration.

Sudden Debt's picture

thank god the last "gift" wasn't a bailout... actually,.. I like gifts myself!

caimen garou's picture

cockroaches to emerge in the comming days, aaahhhhhh! RAID!

Joebloinvestor's picture

Wait till thery find Ben's fingerprints all over a secret deal that he didn't notify congress about.


Wait, that already happened didn't it?

philosophers bone's picture

Ben has disclosed - it's called "Other Assets".  Should be fun when he opens up the grab bag so we can see what's in there.

LongSoupLine's picture

A criminal fucking Goldman ass puppet.

Fuck you Goldman and all your fucking criminal spawns of fucking shit spread around the globe. Die you fuckers.

falak pema's picture

and its all about derivatives; and what does the OLigarchy world say ?

"...We will never abandon the banking system that fluidifies finance thanks to derivatives..."

And I count the ZH editing crowd as part of this intellectul trend. Its nice to see TDs calling out loud n clear "thief, thief" but never saying thats its time to demolish the thieving system...FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. Not just cutting a few heads...its the HYDRA we have to demolish. 

If you don't change that by which hangs the economy, this derivative generating mega debt  thread held by fiat disseminating hands; you need your head examined if you are a man of good faith and you need to be sent to the hot house if you be banksta or crony shill...

But as with the hundred hydra we need to use fire to  cauterise each head cut off! Change the banking system so deeply that we never fall into this pot hole again.

Come on ZH don't bash the criminals bash the crime.

walküre's picture

The derivatives created the liquidity to offer loans to anyone. Derivatives were the foundation to blow up RE prices. The ficticious wealth from derivatives entered the economy via loans and was sanitized and sanctified to generate interest from loans.

The money was never there. It's not real and thus none of the loans, either corporate or personal are REAL money.

All loans need to be declared illegitimate, all debt is odious when considered that the elite never actually loaned any of their own money to build the economy but they benefited several times over.

Only a revolution can put an end to this madness.

davidsmith's picture

This is right.  It will end in a revolution in the U.S.--but unemployment has to explode for that to happen.

Fuh Querada's picture

Yeah, just like C. "Chanel couture" Laretarde under investigation for abuse of public office and embezzlement -

With just about the same probability of indictment.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Just to keep the spotlight shining on the other MPS scandal also potentially implicating Draghi, Bersani and god knows who else. The Antonveneta sale by Santander to Monti dei Paschi in 2007.

The score sheet here so far

translated to english via google

- Banco Santander to buy Antonveneta 6, 6 billion euro

- Banco Santander realizes he made a bad deal, spun off from Interbanca Antonveneta, valued 1.6 billion, and look for a buyer, the real value of the bank is about 3 billion

- Monte dei Paschi to buy Antonveneta 10.3 billion a few months after

- MPS will cover also the passive Antonveneta for 7.9 billion

- MPS at the time was worth 9 billion and buy Antonveneta that has half of its branches (1,000 against 2,000) for a figure, 10.3 billion, higher than the same value of MPS

- MPS has 10.3 billion, then borrows the title collapses

- To do this, the president of MPS Mussari (also former president of the Fondazione MPS) was rewarded with the chairmanship of the ABI without any political party or supervisory body opposes

- The public prosecutor's office opened an investigation of Siena enormous loss operation Antonveneta. Equal to about 14 billion €, 28,000 billion lire, a financial scandal that threatens to embarrass the Parmalat

- The Foundation MPS, the majority shareholder of MPS, indicates to the shareholders of the bank for the appointment of Alessandro Profumo as president. Perfume former CEO of Unicredit is remanded to the court in Milan on charges of tax fraud

- Nose tip immediately on the reduction of personnel equal to 4,300 without filing a claim against the MPS as responsible for the disaster

- The Foundation must sell part of its share ownership of MPS and went from 55% to 35%

- To avoid the failure of MPS Monti makes a loan of 3.9 billion, a figure equivalent to the IMU on the first house

- Grillo speaks of "hole" 14 billion shareholders' meeting of 25 January 2013, the hole was referred to by the subtraction of value through the operations related to Antonveneta

- Monday, 28 January 2013 i am investigating on the deal Antonveneta discover international transfers for 17 billion

- Immediately after emerging large sums that would have been returned to Italy with the Tax Shield wanted by the PDL and approved in the classroom due to the absence of many members of the PDminusL

M.B. Drapier's picture

While we're at it, don't forget the WhistleblowerIRL/Unicredit saga. The Italian regulators don't seem to making haste to investigate this, any more than the Irish ones.

Uskatex's picture

After MPS bough Antonveneta in 2007, it was advised by Goldman Sachs (and Citigroup, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse...) to increase its capital of 9 billion euros to cover the expenses.

An important Italian blog ( reports that one of the Italian consultants of GS was Gianni Letta, who is unanimously considered the "right-hand man" of Berlusconi. So, while MPS is clearly in the area of influence of Democratic Party, also the right-wind opposition party was heavily involved in the affair.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

So was allegedly anyways the Rothschild banking family.

Advisory group Rothschild's Italian unit has never advised Monte dei Paschi di Siena on any capital measure linked to the acquisition of smaller peer Antonveneta from Santander, it said on Sunday, denying a press report.

In a statement Rothschild SpA said it had only advised Santander in the sale.


That JP Morgan advised on the sale or afterwards is no surprise since they are a majority shareholder in Monte dei Paschi. I'd love to see those emails and phone records. Let's hope the Italian prosecutors subpoenaed them.


And good catch on potentially tying bunga bunga into the fray. I'd imagine at the end of the day anyone that came within 100 feet of any of the sales/derivatives trades under investigation is at a minimum going to wind up with shit all over their suits.




Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

To flesh this out a little bit more via reuters italian

translated into english via google.

Mps, in 2007 banks more expensive, not only Antonveneta-Daffina (Rothschild) to Corsera
Monday, January 28, 2013 08:39
LONDON, Jan. 28 (Reuters) - With respect to 2007 assessments of the banks also fell by 70-80% so you can not say that only the price paid by Monte Paschi to buy Antonveneta has been high.

He says Alessandro Daffina, responsible for Italy Rothschild acted as a link between Santander and Monte Paschi in the sale of Antonveneta, in an interview with Corriere della Sera.

"Compared to 2007, the valuations of banks also fell by 70-80%. This applies to the vast majority of European banks. You can not say that only Antonveneta was expensive, it was a totally different world and compare it with the current one does not make sense "says Daffina reiterating that it had no role or in the issue of Fresh, needed to finance the purchase of Antonveneta or in other operations, such as equities, bonds or derivatives with Monte Paschi.

In 2007 as part of the climb to ABN Amro, conducted with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Fortis, Santander contacted Rothschild to find a buyer for the Italian assets, namely Antonveneta and Interbanca.

"They were interviewed BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Unicredit, UBI and Monte Paschi. I also believe Deutsche Bank," said Daffina adding that after an initial survey were collected "very encouraging responses" from Monte Paschi and BNP Paribas.

Daffina denies adviser met Monte Paschi and claims to have spoken directly to Madrid without ever having talks with Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, head of Santander in Italy.

The banker also states that there was pressure to sell to Siena and the number one Santander Emilio Botin preferred to give the exclusive Monte Paschi without waiting for any raises BNP Paribas because "he was afraid that trying to improve it would have delayed the closing of ' operation. "

Daffina then remember that Botin revealed for the first time that "9 billion was the minimum price at which he sold" in the day when you came to an agreement with Giuseppe Mussari. "I think that it pointed to 10 - he says - certainly had an interest in a strong cash gain to demonstrate the goodness of the climb to ABN."

"It 's also true that he could not assign a value to Antonveneta less than 7.5 billion paid by ABN Amro for Opa" he concludes.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Here is that original article the blog cites.

Translated into english via google.

The 'acquisition will Mediobanca advisor. Operation to 9 billion
MPS for the American choice 'Antonveneta
Capital increase with Citi, Goldman and Merrill Banks will be responsible to stop funding 's operation will start in March and April

ROME - The Montepaschi starts the 'operation of a capital increase by € 9 billion to cover all' purchase of Antonveneta by the Spanish Santander. And it does so by relying on giants of 'investment banking will be in charge of a firm' full amount. In particular, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch will have the lead role of coordinating the 'whole file but to engage in the financing of' operation will also Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Mediobanca. Mps that it is free from the task of activating and implementing direct time-definite 's onerous capital increase will assume the role of global coordinator assisted by Merrill Lynch International and Mediobanca as financial advisors. And we are all 'operation that will be covered in advance by the international banks and should tentatively starting in March and April, once you get the' authorization of the Bank of Italy '. And once sketched the plan of integration of the bank at Padua 'Institute Siena, chaired by Giuseppe Mussari. The 'capital increase will be divided into three areas: the subscription by shareholders MPS for 5 billion' s issue of new shares for 1 billion at the service of a convertible bond and 'issuance of subordinated debt to a maximum of 2 billion. Last piece of a bridge loan from 1.95 billion to be repaid from the sale of non-strategic assets. The six institutes will participate in each phase of 'operation. On the first point, the 'offer to shareholders, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Mediobanca have committed to subscribe up to 2.5 billion euro. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Mediobanca will take care of the convertible. Merrill, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse then guarantee the subscription of subordinated debt instruments. For the bridge loan, then that will be used by MPS in the event of delays and problems on the other two fronts, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse and Mediobanca also for their part will ensure the subscription. Yesterday MPS has perfected the 'purchase by Intesa Sanpaolo of Biverbanca agreed on June 4 last year to 398.7 million euro. 9 *** Billions of euro: the 'capital increase of MPS for Antonveneta *** 398 *** Millions of euro: the cost of MPS to acquire Biverbanca.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

And the Italian blog that picked this up. Great catch btw Uskatex

Translated into english via google.

MPS Antonveneta adviser Goldman Sachs was Letta ... Gianni
Debora Billi Avatar Sunday, January 27, 2013, 01:01 by Deborah Billi

Goldman Sachs ran the operation MPS-Antonveneta. And the consultant for Italy, once appointed, is really unexpected ...

 In many of Facebook at this time try to unravel the complicated tangle Monte dei Paschi-Antonveneta. A friend found this interesting article in the Corriere della Sera on December 21, 2007, entitled "MPS, American choice for Antonveneta", which stated that:

The Montepaschi starts the operation of a capital increase by € 9 billion to cover all 'purchase of Antonveneta by the Spanish Santander. And it does so by relying on giants of 'investment banking will be in charge of a firm' full amount. In particular, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch will have the lead role of coordinating the 'whole file but to engage in the financing of' operation will also Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Mediobanca.

The announcement of the acquisition of Antonveneta was the previous November. Someone else noted that it will be very interesting to know who were the consultants for Italy to Goldman Sachs and other investment banks involved in the deal. You know how it is: the referent for Italy is a very important figure in these cases, an essential link for the management of these large-scale operations.

Looking on Google, believed to retrieve the name of some unknown technician, but secretly hoping to catch the piddino shift in the role. Instead I am taken completely off guard, even by Corriere della Sera. Do you know who was the consultant for Italy at Goldman Sachs in the deal Antonveneta, appointed just a few months before?

Gianni Letta. The right arm of what was then the leader of the opposition in the Prodi government, or Silvio Berlusconi.

Now I understand the deafening silence about the scandal of the PDL MPS. Not that I have read has to do, for heaven's sake, do not say never, never! But it was cool cool consultant for Italy from the investment bank that took care of Antonveneta. It is not that he could not find anything, eh.

(Work in progress, it would be interesting to find also the consultants Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and JP Morgan).


Joebloinvestor's picture

If one ever takes the time to read about WWII and how Mussolini inspected his "Air Farce", you can see how this could happen.


(They would fly the airplanes he just inspected to the next base)



Whiner's picture

Ima tella you, I no have a present recollection of derivatives purchased by myastaff' nor do I a thinks such an investment breaks'a the Italian sound'a business judgment rule. All other questions be'a answered by Mr. Brigglioni, mi consiglieri. Gratzi and adios!

CaptainSpaulding's picture

Problematic. Hmm... Time to call Mr. Wolf. He solves problems


SmoothCoolSmoke's picture

Yeah, Draghi is gonna swing from a lampost.....just as soon as the Greece (or Spain, or Ireland, or Portugal, or Cypress, etc) decide to go all Icelandic on the Banksters.

Too Funny.


vincent's picture

Which country will have the balls to open up an investigation vs. the US racketeers?

That would be news