July 13, 2018 / 1:50 PM / 8 months ago

Italian government lawyers argue court should unblock 'popolari' banks reform

ROME (Reuters) - The lawyers for the Italian government argued that the country’s top administrative court should unblock a landmark reform to transform the large “popolari” banks into joint-stock companies, a legal document seen by Reuters showed.

On July 31, Italy’s State Council, an administrative court, will hold a hearing to discuss whether to lift a suspension on the reform, which came about after it was challenged by some of the “popolari”, or cooperative, banks.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said last month the new government wanted to alter the reform, but the lawyers’ document does not mention any changes.

The government’s lawyers also ask that, once the reform is unblocked, the two remaining large “popolari” banks — Popolare di Sondrio e Popolare di Bari — complete their transformation into joint-stock companies within 42 days.

Reporting by Domenico Lusi; writing by Francesca Landini; editing by Steve Scherer

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