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2016-12-21 — wolfstreet.com

While attention is focused on the rescue of MPS, news regarding another Italian bank, Banca Etruria, has quietly slipped by the wayside.

On Friday it was announced that the first part of an investigation concerning fraudulent bankruptcy charges, in which 21 board members are implicated, had been closed. This strand of the investigation concerns €180 million of loans offered by the bank which were never paid back, leading to the regional lender's bankruptcy and eventual bail-in/out last November that left bondholders holding virtually worthless bonds.

The Banca Etruria scandal is a reminder -- and certainly not a welcome one right now for Italian authorities -- that a large part of the €360 billion of toxic loans putrefying on the balance sheets of Italy's banks should never have been created at all and were a result of the widespread culture of corruption, political kickbacks, and other forms of fraud and abuse infecting Italy's banking sector.

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Yet, as has happened in just about every Western jurisdiction since the Global Financial Crisis (bar Iceland, of course), no one will be held to account for the myriad "alleged" white-collar crimes, misdeeds and misdemeanors that paved the way to Italy's unfolding banking crisis. As in Spain, high-profile investigations will be launched and trials will be held, yet they will lead nowhere. And they will take years getting there.

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