Watchdog, police inspect Italy's Mediobanca over market abuse claims

MILAN Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:07am EST

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MILAN Jan 28 (Reuters) - Italy's tax police and inspectors from market watchdog Consob visited the Milan offices of investment bank Mediobanca on Tuesday to check into potential market abuse claims, Consob said.

A report on the website of newspaper Corriere della Sera said the inspections concerned two cases of alleged insider trading.

"The inspection under way is aimed at checking on potential market abuse that may have been committed in 2013 in operations where Mediobanca acted as intermediary," a spokesman for Consob said.

Two sources familiar with the matter said the inspections centered on the sale of Banca Generali shares and the acquisition of Milano Assicurazioni savings shares last year.

Last April Mediobanca helped place 12 percent of Banca Generali by Assicurazioni Generali while in August it worked on the reverse accelerated bookbuilding of Milano Assicurazioni savings shares by insurer Unipol.

Unipol declined to comment. Generali was not immediately available for a comment.

"It's an administrative inspection into operations of the bank with institutional investors on the capital markets," a Mediobanca spokeswoman said.

At 1420 GMT, Mediobanca shares were down 2.19 percent after trading higher in the morning session. (Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro, Paola Arosio and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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