April 27, 2018 / 3:23 PM / 3 months ago

UBI CEO, chairman sent to trial over governance allegations: sources

BERGAMO, Italy (Reuters) - The chief executive and chairman of UBI Banca (UBI.MI) were sent to trial with another 28 people on Friday over alleged governance irregularities at Italy’s fifth-largest bank, a court document reviewed by Reuters showed.

Prosecutors allege the running of the bank has been secretly influenced by two groups of core shareholders led by Giovanni Bazoli, honorary chairman of bank Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI), and Emilio Zanetti.

Both are among those send to trial, along with UBI CEO Victor Massiah and supervisory board chairman Andrea Moltrasio.

Lawyers for Bazoli and Zanetti both said the judge had very limited scope to avoid requesting a trial based on previous rulings by Italy’s highest court.

Bazoli also said the trial would show he always acted in a correct and transparent manner.

Prosecutors suspect the shareholder groups unduly influenced the outcome of the 2013 annual general meeting by collecting proxy votes without having previously informed market watchdog Consob and the Bank of Italy.

UBI, which is also to stand trial, denied any improper influence over shareholder meetings or lack of regulatory disclosure.

“The trial will find that the bank has constantly and scrupulously complied with laws and regulations, adopted rigorous governance rules and conducted its business in a transparent manner,” UBI said in a statement, which it said was also on behalf of Massiah and Moltrasio.

“The absence of any concealment ... has already been confirmed by a ruling issued on 17 May 2017 by the Brescia Court of Appeal which annulled the administrative fine imposed by Consob, confirming that the alleged infringements had not taken place,” the bank added.

The trial is due to start on July 25.

UBI said all managers and directors would continue in their duties.

Writing by Valentina Za; Editing by Mark Potter

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