(Adds details on advisers, background)
MILAN, July 18 The banking foundation that used
to be Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena's top
shareholder will seek damages from former members of its board
and financial advisers in relation to the Italian bank's 2008
costly takeover of smaller rival Antonveneta, it said on Friday.
The 9 billion euro ($12.2 billion) deal badly stretched the
finances of both Monte dei Paschi and the foundation which has
since been forced to cut its over 50 percent stake in the lender
to pay back debts.
In a statement, the foundation, which now has a 2.5 percent
holding in the bank, said the advisers it planned to sue were
those who released a fairness opinion on the price Monte Paschi
paid to buy Antonveneta from Spanish bank Santander.
It did not name the advisers nor the former board members.
A source close to the matter said the advisers were Italy's
Banca Leonardo and Credit Suisse.
Banca Leonardo could not be reached for comment and Credit
Suisse declined to comment.
The acquisition pushed Monte dei Paschi's balance sheet to
the limit just as the global financial crisis struck,
precipitating an eventual state bailout of the 450-year-old
The bank publicly acknowledged it did not carry out due
diligence for its bid on Antonveneta, which Santander bought
only a few months earlier in 2007 for 6.6 billion euros.
Monte dei Paschi raised almost 5 billion euros last month
through a sale of new shares, allowing it to repay much of its
state aid and avoid nationalisation.
($1 = 0.7398 Euros)
(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi and Danilo Masoni, editing by
Emilio Parodi and David Evans)