Siena, Italy – Italian police have seized $54 million as part of an investigation into troubled bank Monte dei Paschi di Sienna.
Authorities conducted the seizure of €40 million ($54 million) on Wednesday, as instructed by prosecutors in Siena. The bank is currently struggling to survive, and the past few weeks have seen its share price tumble as it was revealed the bank had not declared losses from derivatives.
On January 26, the Banca d’Italia (Bank of Italy) had to approve a bailout request from the bank for €3.9 billion ($5.3 billion).
Prosecutors in the northern Italian town have been questioning a number of former managers in recent days.
They allege that Monte dei Paschi di Sienna, colloquially known as Montepaschi, deliberately overpaid for the Italian bank Antonveneta, which was purchased for €9.3 billion from Spanish bank Santander in 2007.
Montepaschi is also under investigation for three trades that could yet cost it hundreds of millions of euros. The Montepaschi board met for six hours on Wednesday but ended the session without releasing a statement.
The bank, founded in 1472 as Monte di Pietà, is thought to be the world’s oldest running financial institution.
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