Former UBI top executives acquitted in governance trial

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© Reuters. UBI Bank CEO Victor Massiah gestures during an interview with Reuters in downtown Milan July 6, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/Files

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MILAN (Reuters) – An Italian court on Friday acquitted the former top executives of UBI Banca in a trial over alleged governance irregularities at the regional bank now part of the Intesa Sanpaolo (OTC:) group, two legal sources said.

Former UBI CEO Victor Massiah and Intesa Sanpaolo’s Honorary Chairman Giovanni Bazoli were both acquitted together with another 27 people under trial due to accusations they obstructed regulators.

At a hearing in May in the northern Italian town of Bergamo where UBI was based, prosecutors had sought a five-year prison sentence for Massiah, while requesting six years and eight months in jail for Bazoli.

Only one former UBI executive was convicted, the sources said.

Intesa Sanpaolo, which last year took over UBI to become Italy’s largest bank, was also acquitted. Under Italian law, companies are liable for crimes committed by their employees.

Prosecutors had alleged two groups of investors tied by shareholder agreements had unduly influenced the outcome of the 2013 general meeting by improperly collecting proxy votes.

The defendants and UBI itself have always rejected the accusations and said they had acted correctly.

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