23 January, 2013

Monte dei Paschi

The suntan, the aged Latin Lover looks, the expensive haircut, these are all enough to show the experienced Italian watcher that Giuseppe Mussari is something we don't need. While in charge of Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), the oldest bank in the world, he was, what can I say?,  implicated in some 'secret derivatives contracts' which left a hole in the bank's balance sheet which could not be filled even by the strange socialist foundation which runs the bank. Politics are everywhere here.

New management was imposed on MPS, and when the new man, Alessandro Profumo, came in he found dozens of posts being held by political nominees.

This being Italy, Mussari smoothed himself into the post of head of the Italian Bankers Association, which goes to show someone has a sense of humour. As a member of the ruling caste, he is entitled to a job at the taxpayer's or the consumer's expense. And from this he has suddenly resigned, fuelling rumours we are about to learn something more.

The shares of MPS have been suspended on the stock exchange.

Someone needs to get right to the bottom of this and talk about it openly. The public has little trust in the political élite and things will be worse if they have no trust in the banks.

This time it is a socialist story and not good news for Bersani in the middle of an election campaign.

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