Finmatica replaces firm for market-rigging probe

Italian software company Finmatica is set to appoint its second set of new lawyers since the launch of a formal investigation into the company by Italian authorities.

The company is in the process of appointing another lawyer, after first choice Fabio Palazzo of boutique firm Studio Legale Pisapia resigned from his position. He has instead opted to act for Finmatica’s former chairman Piero Luigi Crudele, who is one of a number of executives under investigation.

In mid-January the Brescia Public Prosecutor’s office raided software company Finmatica’s headquarters in Brescia following allegations of false company communications, market rigging and obstruction of justice. On Thursday 29 January the prosecutor’s office also raided rating agency Fitch, which had a high single B rating
on the company.

Finmatica denies all the allegations.

However, in response to any possible difficulties, the company has sacked its former auditors, the Italian arm of Grant Thornton (the Italian arm is also being investigated for its role in Parmalat and has been expelled from Grant Thornton’s global network), and has appointed new lawyers and a new board of directors. Crudele and the former chief executive Fabio Bottari, who are now under arrest, have both stepped down from their positions. Generali Vita has replaced Grant Thornton and is carrying out a full review of the company’s accounts.

While the new firm will advise Finmatica on any possible criminal matters, the company has also appointed Milan firm Libonati-Jaeger to act on civil and social matters. Neither firm has acted for Finmatica previously.

Finmatica has operations on four continents. In 2002 it generated $130m (£71.5m) in fees and employed around 1,000 staff.