Monte Paschi prosecutors want to speak to Santander head: source

MILAN Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:17pm EST

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian prosecutors investigating Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) have sent a written request to speak to Santander (SAN.MC) Chairman Emilio Botin as a witness as part of their probe into alleged fraud and bribery at the Tuscan lender, a judicial source said on Thursday.

The Siena prosecutors are investigating Monte dei Paschi's acquisition of smaller rival Antonveneta from Santander in 2007.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the prosecutors had asked Botin to go to Siena in late January but that he was unable to attend.

"The prosecutors will very likely go to Madrid to hear him," the source said.

Santander declined to comment on the Siena prosecutors' request.

(Reporting By Silvia Ognibene, writing by Silvia Aloisi; editing by Keith Weir)