By Silvia Aloisi
MILAN, March 11 Japanese bank Nomura is
seeking to establish British jurisdiction for its dispute with
Monte dei Paschi di Siena over risky derivatives
trades, a source close to the matter said on Monday.
Nomura began proceedings in one of Britain's top court on
March 1, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. On
the same day Italy's scandal-hit Monte dei Paschi filed a
damages claim in a Florence court against Nomura, as well as
Deutsche Bank and two former executives of Monte dei
The source added that Nomura was asking the High Court in
London to declare that the "contracts are valid", a move aimed
at ensuring that any legal dispute will be settled in London
rather than Italy.
Both Nomura and Monte dei Paschi declined to comment.
Legal experts said it was common for investment banks to try
to have legal disputes settled in London, Europe's main
financial centre, where attitudes towards banks are generally
seen as being more favourable than in other countries.
In a landmark trial in Italy last December, four foreign
banks, including Deutsche, were all found guilty of wrongly
selling derivatives to the city of Milan.
Monte dei Paschi, which is at the centre of an Italian probe
into alleged corruption and fraud, is seeking at least 700
million euros ($909 million) in damages from Nomura and two
former Monte dei Paschi executives, a judicial source told
Reuters last week.
The Tuscan lender, the world's oldest bank and Italy's
third-biggest, is also asking for damages of at least 500
million euros from Deutsche Bank and the same former managers
over a separate derivatives deal.
A source close to the matter said that unlike Nomura,
Deutsche Bank had not started proceedings about the case.
Deutsche Bank was not immediately available for comment.
The derivatives trades are also under scrutiny by Italian
prosecutors who allege that they were not fully disclosed to
regulators by former Monte dei Paschi executives as they sought
to conceal losses.
The bank in February put total losses from those two deals
and one other at 730 million euros.