January 29, 2013
Italy is grappling with a scandal at the world’s oldest bank that could affect the outcome of elections next month and dent Mario Draghi’s record as Europe’s top central banker.
Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1427, last week revealed it faced losses of up to €720 million on three derivatives trades, carried out in 2006-2009, details of which were kept hidden from regulators.
Italy’s third-biggest bank was forced to ask for €3.9 billion in state aid last year when it failed to meet tougher European capital standards, as losses on Italian government bonds weakened its balance sheet. If it is unable to repay the special bond, it may face nationalization.