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Italy's Audit Court may sue rating agencies for 234 bn euros

Case regards alleged error in 2011 downgrade - FT report

05 February, 10:57
Italy's Audit Court may sue rating agencies for 234 bn euros (ANSA) - Rome, February 5 - Italy's State auditor, the Audit Court, is considering suing the world's three leading rating agencies for damages over downgrades of the country's credit rating in 2011, the Financial Times has reported.

The Audit Court may be about to sue Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch for 234 billion euros over the downgrades, which increased concern about Italy's financial position and contributed to a rise in borrowing costs at the height of the eurozone debt crisis.

The FT said S&P had revealed that it had been notified that the Audit Court may present a claim, in part because the agency allegedly failed to account for Italy's cultural heritage when downgrading the country's rating.

"S&P never in its ratings pointed out Italy's history, art or landscape which, as universally recognised, are the basis of its economic strength," the FT quoted the petition as saying. S&P dismissed the claim as "frivolous and without merit", the FT said.

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