Top Italy court prosecutor seeks acquittals in MPS derivatives case

ROME (Reuters) – A prosecutor at Italy’s highest court on Wednesday requested upholding the acquittal of all defendants in a high-profile case involving derivative deals at bailed-out lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

Among the defendants are former Monte dei Paschi (MPS) Chairman Giuseppe Mussari and former Managing Director Antonio Vigni, as well as banks Deutsche Bank and Nomura.

A Milan appeals court ruling in May 2022 had already overturned a 2019 conviction of the former executives and the two banks over derivative deals that prosecutors alleged had helped MPS hide billions in losses.

If the request for acquittal by prosecutor Francesca Loy is upheld, it will mark the final chapter in the high-profile case.

Shares in MPS, 64% owned by the state, rallied on Wednesday because the likely verdict has positive implications for the bank, which has set aside cash against legal risks.

MPS, the world’s oldest bank still in business and Italy’s fifth biggest listed lender, had reached a court settlement in 2016 in the derivatives case at a cost of 10.6 million euros.

The case centred on two derivatives transactions — dubbed Alexandria and Santorini — that Nomura and Deutsche Bank arranged for MPS in 2009 and which played a key role in the demise of the Tuscan bank that led to its bailout by the state in 2017.

(This story has been refiled to remove extraneous words in paragraph 2)

(Reporting by Marco Carta; Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by Valentina Za)