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No one under investigation in Telecom Italia inquiry

Roman prosecutor says Franco Bernabe' heard for information

20 December, 15:07
No one under investigation in Telecom Italia inquiry (ANSA) - Rome, December 20 - A Rome prosecutor on Friday said no one is under investigation for obstructing regulators nor is any person being probed for a crime in an inquiry related to Telefonica SA's tightening grip on Telco, the holding company that controls Italy's largest phone company Telecom Italia. Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera on Friday reported that TI's ex-chairman Franco Bernabe' had been questioned by the Rome prosecutor's office for an inquiry into a possible agreement among TI's major shareholders to favor Spain's Telefonica SA's rising control. The paper said there was also suspicion of possible obstruction of regulators.

Prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone wrote in a note on Friday that the ex-chief of Italy's largest telephone company had been heard as someone intimately familiar with recent developments.

"From the beginning of October of this year, (Bernabe') has dutifully followed developments of the Telecom episode, urging and engaging (market regulator) Consob in the physiological exchange of information between justice authorities and supervisory bodies" required by Italian compliance standards, wrote the prosecutor.

"In this context, hearing Franco Bernabe' is fitting," Pignatore concluded.

Bernabe' stepped down as chairman in October 3 after he lost the backing of TI's controlling shareholders in Telco, the Telefonica-led holding company that owns 22.4% of TI.

Spain's Telefonica SA in late September announced that it had agreed to raise its stake in Telco to 66% through a 324-million-euro capital increase.

The agreement foresaw further advances to reach a possible 100% stake in January 2014, depending on international antitrust approvals.