Renzi-De Benedetti on banks 'a scandal' (2)

'I'll fight this model with all my strength'

(ANSA) - Rome, January 10 - Anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio said Tuesday it was a "scandal" that then premier and centre-left Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi phoned businessman Carlo De Benedetti in 2015 to let him know the government was set to pass a reform of 'popolari' cooperative banks so he could allegedly buy shares in them. "If that is the PD's model then I'll fight it with all my strength, " said Di Maio. He said the PD should not be voted in the March 4 general election and vowed to "send them packing".
    De Benedetti is a centre left sympathiser and owns the left-leaning daily la Repubblica.
    Di Maio alos said that the parliamentary commission of inquiry into Italy's banking crisis, which recently wound up its work, "should be permanent".
    He said that "no bank should no longer feel it can do what the others have done".
    He also said that another watchdog over banks was needed, alongside the Bank of Italy which he said had failed to do its job.
    Renzi has come under fire from all opponents including the centre right over the reports that he spoke to De Benedetti about plans to reform the popolari when he was premier before the legislation was passed by his government.
    The reports referred to a telephone conversation in January 2015 in which De Benedetti told his broker that he had spoken to Renzi about the reform decree and the then-premier had said that it would be passed.
    Prosecutors have requested that an insider trading probe be shelved after Renzi and De Benedetti both said that they had not gone into the details of the reform. Renzi said Wednesday that the fact the reform was in the pipeline was no secret.
    "There was a news agency report that said we would undertake that reform," Renzi told Radio Capital.