Santander's Botin set to be questioned on MPS on Wednesday: sources

SIENA, Italy Tue Jul 2, 2013 11:40am EDT

Spain's Santander chairman Emilio Botin gestures as he attends the company's annual shareholders meeting in Santander, northern Spain, March 22, 2013. REUTERS/Nacho Cubero

Spain's Santander chairman Emilio Botin gestures as he attends the company's annual shareholders meeting in Santander, northern Spain, March 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Nacho Cubero

SIENA, Italy (Reuters) - Banco Santander (SAN.MC) chairman Emilio Botin is set to be questioned as a witness to alleged fraud and corruption at Tuscan lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) (BMPS.MI) on Wednesday, sources close the investigation said.

Siena public prosecutor Antonio Nastasi, who is leading the investigation, left Siena for Madrid this morning, the sources said on Tuesday, after a special request to question him there was granted.

Banco Santander declined to comment.

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

Botin's questioning as a witness - one of the last steps before the main part of the investigation closes in mid-July - was scheduled for January in Siena, but Botin could not attend.

Botin has not been charged with any crime.

Apart from Botin, prosecutors have only one more witness to question before they close the investigation.

(Reporting by Siliva Ognibene and Julien Toyer; Writing by Jennifer Clark; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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