Italy financier Proto arrested in market rigging probe - sources

MILAN Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:06pm GMT

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italian financier Alessandro Proto, who in the past announced plans by investors to buy stakes in some of Italy's top companies, was arrested on Thursday as part of an investigation into alleged market rigging, two police sources said.

Italian tax police on Thursday said in a statement they had arrested an Italian citizen, who was identified by the two police sources as Proto.

In the statement, the tax police said the individual arrested had not given timely information requested by market watchdog Consob regarding certain trading activity.

Proto's lawyer, contacted by Reuters by email, did not give any immediate reply.

In the past Proto has made offers, on behalf of investors, for stakes in Italian banks Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) and UniCredit (CRDI.MI), publisher RCS (RCSM.MI) and car maker Fiat FIA.MI.

These offers were for stakes that were below the threshold that would trigger a compulsory filing with Consob.

In November, Proto was placed under investigation by Milan prosecutors for alleged market rigging, judicial sources said. Proto denied at the time that he was under investigation for market manipulation.

Consob said Proto had not provided required information in relation to his role in an investment in RCS, the publisher of Italy's leading newspaper Corriere della Sera.

(Reporting by Emilio Parodi and Sara Rossi; writing by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Jane Baird)

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