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ROME, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Italy’s highest court cancelled a ruling sentencing Giovanni Berneschi, former chairman of Genoa-based bank Banca Carige, to eight years and seven months in jail for criminal association and money laundering.
Berneschi and other defendants, who were first convicted by a Genoa court and then by an appeal court in the same city, have to go to trial again in Milan, a lawyer for two of the defendants said on Thursday citing the ruling, which was published on Wednesday night.
Under Italian law, the trial has to be held in the city where the most serious offence is alleged to have been committed. In the previous ruling the courts decided that the most serious offence was the alleged criminal association, which was carried out in Genoa.
Italy’s top court however accepted the claim from the defendants’ lawyers, ruling that the most serious offence was that of money laundering, which was allegedly committed in Milan.
Berneschi was ousted from his job in September 2013 after 20 years as Carige’s chairman in a management overhaul imposed by the Bank of Italy following audits that revealed poor lending practices, a large derivatives exposure and questionable accounting methods.
Shareholders in Carige approved last month a 700 million euro ($771 million) cash call, relinquishing control of the lender to save it from liquidation after years of losses.
Reporting by Domenico Lusi, writing by Sabina Suzzi Editing by Keith Weir