April 18, 2013

ITALY: Italian Police Seize 1.8 Billion Euros From Japan's Nomura

written by Staff
Tuesday April 16, 2013

ROME — Italian police on Tuesday were given orders to seize 1.8 billion euros ($2.3 billion) destined for Nomura and placed the former chief of the Japanese bank's European operations under investigation in a fraud probe over a derivatives deal with the troubled bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

A statement from the prosecutor's office in Siena said it had ordered the seizure of "a total of around 1.8 billion euros from Nomura International" including 88 million euros in commissions and 1.7 billion euros in collateral posted by Monte dei Paschi for Nomura.

But Nomura said this had not happened.

"No Nomura assets have been seized. We will take all appropriate steps to protect our position and will vigorously contest any suggestions of wrongdoing in this matter," it said in a statement.

Prosecutors also ordered the seizure of a total of 14.4 million euros from three former managers of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena who are under investigation.

It placed under investigation Sadeq Sayeed, the former head of Nomura for Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as Raffaele Ricci, a managing director for fixed income sales.

Sayeed stepped down from Nomura in 2010.

The statement said Sayeed and Ricci were suspected of "gravely obstructing" the activities of supervisory authorities and putting out "false statements".

Contacted by AFP, Nomura declined to comment.

The world's oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena has been at the centre of a massive fraud scandal since January which has uncovered several derivative deals put in place by its former management in order to disguise losses.

The bank itself last month began a lawsuit in civil court against Nomura, Deutsche Bank and two of its former managers for their role in these operations.

Investors cheered the prosecutorial action, with Monte dei Paschi's shares jumping by more than 3.0 percent on the Milan stock exchange by 1100 GMT, while the benchmark index was down 0.46 percent.

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