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Stiff sentences for bank fraud capture Italy’s sour public mood

IN THE VAULTS of Monte dei Paschi di Siena is a torn and yellowing sheet of paper: a death sentence from the 15th century, handed down for trying to steal gold from what may be the world’s oldest bank. Monte Paschi’s archivists now have another historic sentence for their files. On November 8th a court in Milan convicted former executives for hiding vast losses from derivatives transactions a decade ago, in collusion with bankers from Deutsche Bank and Nomura. It was one of the harshest penalties imposed anywhere relating to the financial crisis.Thirteen people were convicted, including Michele Faissola, Deutsche Bank’s former global head of rates, and Sadeq Sayeed, Nomura’s former chief executive for Europe. Giuseppe Mussari, Monte Paschi’s former chairman, received the heaviest sentence, of seven years and six months. Deutsche Bank and Nomura were fined a total of nearly €160m ($176m). Monte Paschi, which was nationalised in 2017 as its losses spiralled, had already settled.
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