BARI, Italy Dec 15 Italy's finance police have
searched the offices of cooperative bank Popolare di Bari as
part of an inquiry into alleged obstruction of regulators,
prosecutors said on Thursday.
Popolare di Bari is one of Italy's large cooperative banks
which are part of a reform of the sector to convert them into
joint stock companies. The bank has yet to adopt the changes
mandated by the reform.
"The investigation aims to shed light on possible
irregularities at the bank in recent years," Bari prosecutors
said in a statement. "The alleged crime is obstruction of
The bank, which is located in southern Italy, had no
Regional lenders in northern Italy, Popolare di Vicenza and
Veneto Banca, which shed their cooperative status last year, are
already part of a separate investigation on suspicion of
Those banks are suspected of having loaned money to clients
to buy shares in the banks, in order to allegedly artificially
boost their value.
(Reporting by Vincenzo Damiani, writing by Valentina Za,
editing by Philip Pullella)