Default of Veneto Banca: what said the attorney regent of the Republic of Treviso, Massimo De Bortoli, during the hearing in the parliamentary commission of inquiry on the banking and financial system
Vincenzo Consoli, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bank of Italy . The attorney regent of the Republic of Treviso, Massimo De Bortoli, did not skimp on criticism – even harsh – during the hearing in the parliamentary commission of inquiry on the banking and financial system on the default of Veneto Banca. The magistrate is the holder of the investigation into the default of the credit institution, for which the compulsory administrative liquidation was ordered in June 2017 (together with Banca Popolare di Vicenza) and whose assets were sold to Intesa Sanpaolo at the price of 50 cents with 5 billion in guarantees from the state.
THE ROLE OF THE FORMER AD CONSOLI IN VENETO BANCA
During his speech in the commission chaired by Carla Ruocco (M5S), De Bortoli devoted ample space to the role – decidedly negative – played by the former CEO. “Even Vincenzo Consoli had purchased works of art and antiques for over 6 million euros which were then estimated by art houses of the caliber of Sotheby's for a maximum value of 1.6 million”, he claimed. Consoli, according to the indictment, held "distracting or dissipative conduct, consisting in particular in the granting of credits for considerable amounts to companies that had no guarantees and that perhaps were already in situations of insolvency and that have depleted the assets" of bank.
For this reason, in addition to the crimes of hindering supervision, fraud and stock manipulation, he is also accused of fraudulent bankruptcy. “I realized – said De Bortoli – that all the crimes previously hypothesized involve rather short limitation periods, and it is easy for many to be extinguished in the first or second degree. Therefore, aware of this, I asked for a declaration of insolvency for Veneto Banca, accepted by the Court of Treviso and confirmed by the Court of Appeal of Venice, thus making it possible to institute proceedings for fraudulent bankruptcy ”.
The Regent Prosecutor of the Republic of Treviso did not mince words for Consoli: he was an "absolute despot" for whom "it was easy to manipulate and maneuver the leaders to get false information; he was the absolute master without any limit, not only could he have any unwelcome executive fired but he could also dismiss the directors or auditors of the company. He was an absolute despot and the value of the action was up to him. Then everyone on the board said 'yes alright' and those who were against it were silenced. Then when the bank became a spa all this staging collapsed miserably ".
THE TRANSACTIONS KISSED FOR VENETO BANCA
During the hearing, the prosecutor also spoke of the kissed operations. "We believe that the phenomenon was less relevant in Veneto Banca than in Banca Popolare di Vicenza, but we have verified that there have been at least 430 million euros financed by purchasers of shares".
THE “VERY SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITIES” OF PWC ON VENETO BANCA
Not only Consoli, however. De Bortoli also points the finger at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the auditing firm which Veneto Banca had entrusted with. "We investigated and very serious conduct emerged," he clarified . “Pwc has essentially never hindered the activity of the former CEO of Veneto Banca, Vincenzo Consoli, hindering instead the supervision of the Bank of Italy”. Currently, proceedings are also underway against Pwc which “was sent to Rome for competence in February 2020 and I believe that the public prosecutor's office has already made the request for indictment. In addition to the negligent activity of the bank's board of statutory auditors, the malicious omission of control by Pwc was added, against which there is a criminal proceeding in progress ”.
THE J'ACCUSE TO BANKITALIA
After the former CEO and the auditing company, De Bortoli also focused on the role of Via Nazionale. And here too he has made things clear. "From what I was able to verify (in the period of the renewal of the board of Veneto Banca, ed ), the Bank of Italy could have done more because Consoli was no longer CEO but became general manager but in fact remained 'absolute dominus'" . And again: "When the capital increase was implemented by Consob perhaps Bank of Italy could have said 'ok, but Consoli will not even remain general manager'". Which did not happen.
"I believe that the Bank of Italy has done what it could do – added De Bortoli -, we think it has inspection powers that allow us to see beyond appearances, but in reality it too, when doing the checks, is provided with the data by the companies and if they are false data, the Bank of Italy has obviously also been misled ”.
THE PROBLEMS OF THE JUDICIARY
In all this, the Regent Prosecutor of the Republic of Treviso also raised another problem by answering the questions of the commission. "It is clear that the judiciary has blunt weapons," he said. “In the face of such glaring phenomena, which can be configured as a banking disaster – he pointed out – the criminal justice system has no weapons, so much so that a precautionary measure is not even conceivable against Vincenzo Consoli, former CEO of Veneto Banca. He is retired, so there is no risk of recidivism, there is no risk of contamination of the evidence because everything has already been acquired, there is no danger of escape because he is staying in his beautiful villa in Vicenza and does not these are elements that may make us fear an escape attempt ”.
As regards the possible sentence that would be imposed on him, De Bortoli replied: Consoli is over 70 years old and is unlikely to be in prison for even a few days ”. Looking from the other side, however, that is to the cheated savers, “I do not think we can rely on criminal investigations, the purpose of which is to identify people, try them and obtain convictions. The strongest answer that should be given is that of accountability actions ”.
THE DOUBTS OF THE BROTHERS OF ITALY AND FORZA ITALIA ON THE ROLE OF BANKITALIA IN VENETO BANCA
At the end of the hearing, with a note, Fratelli d'Italia and Forza Italia asked for clarity on the work of the Italian central bank. “What was the real role of the Bank of Italy in allowing or even favoring banking aggregations, in Veneto as in Abruzzo or in Puglia, which then exploded into defaults to the detriment of the innocent savers shareholders? Were the control functions carried out in a timely manner or, as the results appear, was the supervision only formal and therefore inadequate to protect the system? " the parliamentarians of FdI, Andrea de Bertoldi and Tommaso Foti, and Maurizio D'Ettore of Forza Italia asked themselves. Then the attack on the executive. “We take note from the words of the Attorney Dr. De Bortoli, during the hearing in the Commission of Inquiry on the banking and financial system, of the operational difficulties that affect the Treviso Public Prosecutor's Office, engaged in the proceedings on the well-known financial scandal of the Venetian Banks. The prosecutor who is investigating one of the most important and serious cracks in the north-east – they continued – is in fact forced, despite numerous requests for help, to work understaffed and without having obtained any benefit in order to best carry out their judicial functions . A further demonstration of the incapacity and inadequacy of the outgoing Conte government, which has not been able to give answers even in the face of such an important situation; in fact, the Italian courts continue to work in reduced ranks while unnecessary expenses for consultancy and ineffective task forces proliferate, and the justice reform does not even appear in the Recovery Plan projects. Could it be due to these deficiencies and defections – the question arises – that the trials on banking scandals are not proceeding? ”.
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/economia/veneto-banca-ecco-le-sberle-dei-magistrati-a-consoli-revisori-pwc-e-bankitalia/ on Wed, 27 Jan 2021 10:32:08 +0000.