The boss of the Italian aeronautics and defense group Leonardo Spa, Alessandro Profumo, was sentenced on Thursday to six years in prison for price manipulation and false communication, facts committed when he was president of the BMPS bank.

Alessandro Profumo, tried before the Milan court, also receives a fine of 2.5 million euros, according to Italian agencies. The former chief executive of the bank, Fabrizio Viola, was sentenced to the same fine and the same term of imprisonment. The two men have decided to appeal and remain at large, awaiting a new trial. The judges did not follow the opinion of the prosecutor who had requested the release. The public prosecutor considered that the accounts presented, although“Incorrect”, “Were certainly not intended to deceive partners and markets”. The defense has always maintained that“No misleading information has ever been given to the market”. The two men are also banned from holding public office for five years and from running a business for two years.

This conviction at first instance will have no immediate impact on the post of Alessandro Profumo at the head of Leonardo, the group announced on Thursday evening. “The company expresses its total confidence in the work of Mr. Profumo and wishes to see him continue in his functions”Leonardo said in a statement. The two managers were convicted of price manipulation and false communication on the results of the first half of 2015 of the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS). “We will carefully read the reasons and appeal the sentence that we consider to be wrong”, said Adriano Raffaelli, one of the lawyers of Fabrizio Viola and Alessandro Profumo. “We are convinced that our customers have acted correctly”, he added.

Public rescue

On the other hand, the court did not judge the possible false communication for the results of the year 2012, evoking prescribed facts, and ruled that “The facts did not exist” for the years 2013 and 2014. The case concerns the presumed incorrect accounting of the Alexandria and Santorini derivatives. BMPS, as an establishment, was fined 800,000 euros and will have to pay the court costs, just like the accused. The former president of the board of auditors of BMPS, Paolo Salvadori, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for false communication.

According to a source close to the manager contacted by hooly News in 2018, the year of the opening of the trial, Alessandro Profumo was “Serene about the choices made when (he was) at BMPS” and determined to demonstrate “Have always acted correctly, in the interest of the institute and its shareholders, and in close collaboration with the (Central) Bank of Italy and (the Italian stock market policeman) the Consob”. Alessandro Profumo, with a long career as a banker notably at UniCredit, took the helm of Leonardo (ex-Finmeccanica) in May 2017. Ignoring the initial skepticism, the manager, now 63 years old, managed to redress the Italian aeronautics and defense giant, then in difficulty. Senator Gianluigi Paragone (from the party in favor of Italy’s exit from the euro zone) asked “His immediate resignation, if only because of the bad image of Italy gives internationally”.

The oldest bank on the planet, BMPS benefited from a public bailout in 2017, when it was in great difficulty and the markets considered it the weak link in the Italian banking system. After having accumulated losses in recent years, it is engaged in a vast restructuring but the coronavirus epidemic is complicating its recovery.