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Carige: Malacalza mulls legal action

Genova - Lawyers have been deployed in the escalating spat over the governance of Banca Carige, a row which led two days ago to Vittorio Malacalza’s resignation from his roles on the board of directors, as deputy chairman and interim director of the bank

Genova - Lawyers have been deployed in the escalating spat over the governance of Banca Carige, a row which led two days ago to Vittorio Malacalza’s resignation from his roles on the board of directors, as deputy chairman and interim director of the bank. His resignation follows that of chairman Giuseppe Tesauro, and that of two other directors, Stefano Lunardi and Francesca Balzani. Malacalza, who owns a 20.6% share, announced today in a statement that he’s assigned lawyer Alessandro Vaccaro the task of examining “documents, actions and moves taken by top executives during the period of Carige’s troubled management to assess whether there are any elements of a criminal nature, reserving the right to take necessary steps to protect his interests.” “Let them examine as much as they like - any document, we’re definitely not worried at all,” was the swift reply from the bank’s Chief Executive, Paolo Fiorentino, in a statement to ANSA news agency. The statement mentions that Malacalza’s move to hire a lawyer comes “as a result of internal and external matters that have transpired at Banca Carige and that, ultimately, prompted him to act, for the same set of reasons that he had expressed earlier in his letter of resignation from the bank’s board of directors, effective once a new deputy chairman is appointed.” In his resignation letter, Malacalza had explained his decision as resulting from “the fact of there being dissent and divergences within the governing body of the bank regarding corporate management and the vision of governance.” During Carige’s shareholder meeting he also pointed to “two very serious incidents” as being determinant in his decision. The first refers to the fact that “in the days immediately preceding the arrest of the attorney Luca Lanzalone”, which was carried out as part of the Roma stadium corruption probe, the bank’s CEO, Paolo Fiorentino, “told me he’d met with him and went on to praise his professional qualities.” The other incident, explained Malacalza, was Fiorentino’s attempt to “de-legitimize” my role as interim chairman when, in his meeting with the press on July 3rd, “rather than denying rumours about supposed objections from the ECB concerning my appointment to the position, he lent credence to them.” It seems that conflict at the top of the Genoa-based lender is set to increase. Yesterday Fiorentino, in an interview with the business daily Sole 24 Ore, said that he did not intend to hold on to his position as head of the bank “at any cost”. “I will remain if the conditions are in place to carry out the reorganization plan agreed with the ECB’s supervision, which aims to merge with another bank within a reasonably short timeframe. But my staying on will also depend on the resulting shareholding structure. I do not know if anyone wishes to nominate me for the list of proposed future directors, but I do not think that should be the bank’s pressing priority. What about Malacalza? We parted ways after almost a year fighting on the same front,” he responded.

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