ROME Jan 6 Italy's populist 5-Star Movement is
appealing to Europe's highest court to obtain compensation for
thousands of people whose savings were all but erased by
bailouts at two regional banks.
Italy's largest opposition party, 5-Star has lambasted the
government's handling of a string of bank crises triggered by
years of economic stagnation, and accused it of making the
people pay for bankers' mistakes.
David Borrelli, a 5-Star representative in the European
Parliament, said in a blog post on Friday the movement had
appointed lawyers to take the case to the European Court of
Justice and the legal costs would be covered by a voluntary pay
cut for party councillors in the Veneto region.
The state-sponsored rescues of Veneto Banca IPO-VENE.MI
and Banca Popolare di Vicenza (IPO-BPVS.MI) last year wiped out
the savings of more than 200,000 - mainly retail - investors.
"People responsible at every level should pay for a complete
reimbursement, in the name of justice that is correct, free and
equal for everyone," Borrelli said in the blog post.
Both banks are under investigation over allegations they
lent money to clients to buy their own shares, artificially
boosting their financial strength. New managers at both lenders
have said they will work closely with prosecutors.
Borrelli said the central bank and market regulator Consob
had failed to supervise and the state had not protected people's
savings. "The system is rotten from head to toe," he said.
The Bank of Italy and Consob declined to comment.
A junior minister said last year the scandal showed the Bank
of Italy must change its supervision, but Economy Minister Pier
Carlo Padoan said he had no reason to be dissatisfied with
either the central bank or Consob.
The two banks are due to make an offer of compensation to
shareholders on Jan. 9. Borrelli cited Italian press reports
that holders could be offered 15 percent of the shares' original
(Reporting by Isla Binnie; editing by Mark Heinrich)