MILAN, April 5 Italian market watchdog Consob
said on Friday it had imposed its second-biggest fine ever for
market manipulation in a case involving the former owner of
Italy's No. 2 insurer Fondiaria-SAI.
In filings, the regulator said it had fined Salvatore
Ligresti and two "trusted" associates a total of 11.3 million
euros ($14.52 million) for carrying out operations in the period
Nov. 2009 to Sept. 2010 aimed at supporting the price of shares
of holding company Premafin.
The sanction included a fine of 5 million euros for
Salvatore Ligresti, head of the Italian family that used to
control Fondiaria through Premafin.
It was not possible to reach Ligresti for a comment.
Consob's biggest sanction for market manipulation was in
2007 when it fined Ifil, which then controlled Fiat, a
total of 16 million euros for failing to inform the market at
the right time over a complex equity swap deal.
The Ligresti family was ousted from control of Fondiaria
last year after a bitter battle for control with insurance rival
Under Ligresti ownership, Fondiaria, which started to report
losses in 2009, saw its market value shrink and its solvency
margin fall below standard requirements.
Italian regulators, including Consob, came under criticism
for their handling of the merger, with many accusing them of
lacking teeth and turning a blind eye to the company's problems.
Unipol, which now controls Fondiaria, plans to
merge with its peer later this year.
($1 = 0.7780 euros)
(Reporting By Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)