martedì 29 maggio 2012
Italy tax police arrest ex-BPM chairman
(Adds details, background)
May 29 (Reuters) - The Italian tax police arrested the former chairman of Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM) on Tuesday in connection with a probe into loans irregularly granted by the mid-sized lender.
The tax police and investigative sources said Massimo Ponzellini, who left the Milanese mutual bank at the end of 2011, was one of three people against whom they were executing arrest warrants on allegations that include criminal association.
Ponzellini, 61, was placed under home arrest, they said. He is currently chairman of Italian builder Impregilo.
Milan prosecutors suspect that "huge" loans were granted partly "through the falsification of evaluation procedures at the bank" and given in exchange for 5.7 million euros in bribes, a police statement said on Tuesday.
When the investigation led to searches at Ponzellini's offices and residences last November, investigative sources said the anomalous loans included one worth 148 million euros given to gaming company Atlantis-BPplus after it won back in 2004 a contract from state gaming body AAMS.
The other arrest warrants were issued against Francesco Corallo, who investigators consider as the ultimate owner of Atlantis-BPplus, and Antonio Cannalire, a person with interests in the gaming business and seen as close to Ponzellini.
Corallo is fugitive and Cannalire was placed under home arrest, investigative sources said.
Ponzellini and the other two could not be immediately reached for comment.
The investigation led by Milan public prosecutors was triggered by a Bank of Italy report in June 2011 that followed a long inspection at BPM to shed light on doubtful loans. (Reporting By Manuela D'Alesssandro; Writing by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)