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VICENZA, Italy, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Shareholders in Italy's Banca Popolare di Vicenza voted on Tuesday to pursue legal action against former managers after thousands of small investors lost their savings when the regional lender had to be rescued by bank bailout fund Atlante.
The bank had said in a document prepared for the shareholder meeting it had suffered "several hundred million euros" in damages because of former executives' conduct, citing in particular allegedly "serious and repeated irregular lending practices" and past investments in the Athena and Optimum funds.
Popolare di Vicenza and rival Veneto Banca were rescued this year by state-sponsored Atlante after investors shunned share issues needed to plug a capital shortfall and avert the risk of being wound down.
Both banks are under investigation over allegations they lent money to clients to buy their own shares, artificially boosting their financial strength. New top executives have said they are cooperating fully with magistrates. (Reporting by Andrea Mandala; writing by Francesca Landini, editing by Valentina Za)