(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
Nov 14 - Earlier this week Italian prosecutors in Trani announced they have indicted Fitch Italia and two members of our staff - an unprecedented manoeuvre that lacks any merit.
Effective immediately -- and in the absence of clarity around why Trani opposes analysts sharing legitimate opinions with the market in a transparent and appropriate manner -- Fitch has restricted its market communication regarding the ratings of Italian entities and issuances to formal published research. All teleconferences, conferences in Italy and any similar events for the purpose of discussing Italian entities are suspended, and questions from third-party market participants such as investors or journalists will be referred back to our published comments.
If Fitch does not receive adequate assurances that this type of incident will not be repeated, we may have to re-evaluate the future of our operations in Italy.
Fitch wishes to reiterate its statement released on 12 November:
"Fitch Ratings completely rejects any suggestion of wrongdoing in these matters and will defend itself vigorously in the face of the announcement by Trani.
Fitch operates in a manner consistent with our own policies and criteria, and in accordance with all applicable laws.
With regard to the specifics of today's announcement by Trani, the facts are as follows: Fitch placed Italy's rating on Rating Watch Negative in December 2011. At that time Fitch conveyed to the market that any subsequent downgrade would likely be limited to one or two notches and would follow our formal review of Italy due to conclude by the end of January 2012. In keeping with our policies and applicable law, the Italian government was informed of this action."