• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Man kills himself as bank failure wipes out savings
The Italian government approved a privately funded rescue plan for Italy's troubled banks in November. Photo: Damien Mayer/AFP

Man kills himself as bank failure wipes out savings

Angela Giuffrida · 10 Dec 2015, 13:13

Published: 10 Dec 2015 13:13 GMT+01:00

The 68-year-old hung himself at his home in Civitavecchia, a port town near Rome, after the so-called “save banks” plan wiped out €100,000 in savings held at Banca Etruria, one of the four lenders included in the government rescue deal announced on November 22nd.

“This is a disgrace and an absolute tragedy – the deposits of smaller investors are not guaranteed. The people managing the banks must be the ones to take responsibility,” Elio Lannutti, the president of Adusbef, a consumers' association which alongside Codacons has asked criminal prosecutors to start an investigation, told The Local.

The rescue deal, set up by the Bank of Italy, saw the creation of a private fund to raise €3.6 billion for the struggling banks, which included Banca Marche, CariFerrari and CariChieti.

If the bank rescue had come just five weeks later, the man's savings and those of thousands of others might have been saved by new EU rules, which come into force on 1st January.

The intention is to restructure and recapitalize the lenders with funds raised from Italy’s healthy banks, while combining their non-performing loans in a separate “bad bank”.

The rescue plan was ushered in before the EU's so-called "bail-in" rules  – under which account holders with deposits of more than €100,000, along with shareholders and bondholders, would bear the brunt of losses before any public money can be used to bail a bank out - take effect.

But the move has seen some 130,000 people who held shares and bonds across the four banks lose their investments, Lannutti said.

"It amounts to a complete swindle. The only guarantees in place are for the higher savers,"  he added.

The pensioner, a former worker for the energy firm Enel, had banked with Banca Etruria for over fifty years, with most of his life savings tied up in bonds.

The government had promised to introduce a “humanitarian” measure to reduce the impact on small investors.

But that was no assurance for the pensioner, whose body was found by his wife a week after the rescue plan was announced.

In a document found on his computer, the man accused the bank of changing its strategy to protect bigger investors over smaller ones.

Months before the rescue plan was announced, he tried to recuperate his savings, even suggesting to the bank that he was prepared to accept less, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported.

Adusbef and Codacons have asked prosecutors to investigate whether the rescue plan decree is "compatible with criminal laws and the Constitution".

Story continues below…

Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right Northern League, took to Twitter to call on the resignation of the Bank of Italy chief, Ignazio Visco.

He also lambasted the government, suggesting it was to blame for the suicide.

"Pensioner from Civitavecchia commits suicide, he loses his life savings because of Banca Etruria and an absent government."


 

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Angela Giuffrida (angela.giuffrida@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy earthquake
Italy earthquake death toll revised down to 241
Volunteers join rescue services in Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

UPDATED: The death toll from a powerful earthquake in central Italy was revised downwards to 241 on Thursday but officials cautioned it could rise again as rescuers continued a grim search for corpses, as powerful aftershocks rocked the devastated area.

Italy quake: Probe opens into building collapses
Collapsed buildings in central Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into building collapses in the Lazio towns of Accumoli and Amatrice following Wednesday’s earthquake.

Italy earthquake: Here's how you can help
Rescuers continue to hand for survivors. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The earthquake on Wednesday, which claimed the lives of at least 247 people, has had a devastating impact on four Italian towns.

Italy must do more to reduce earthquake risk: experts
Rescue workers survey the ruins of Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

"An event like yesterday’s in Japan or California would never have caused the same amount of carnage."

Italy earthquake
Restaurants donate for servings of famous pasta dish
The famous Amatriciana dish derives from Amatrice, where over 200 died in the earthquake. Photo: ZanPei/Flickr

Italian restaurants around the world have been asked to make €2 donations for every plate of Amatriciana pasta served towards Amatrice, one of the towns devastated by Wednesday’s earthquake.

Italy earthquake
Quake hit in one of Italy's most seismically-prone areas
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The deadly earthquake that struck central Italy before dawn on Wednesday occurred in a notorious seismic hotspot, and dangerous aftershocks are possible, scientists said.

Live: Italy earthquake death toll rises to 247
Residents of Amatrice survey the damage to their homes. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

At least 247 people have died after a powerful earthquake struck a remote area of central Italy on Wednesday, said Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, warning that the figure could still rise.

At least 120 dead in central Italy earthquake
Rescuers carry a man in Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

A powerful earthquake that rocked central Italy on Wednesday left 120 people dead and the total is likely to rise, the country's civil protection unit said in the first official death toll.

Italy earthquake: What we know so far
Rescuers carry a man through the rubble of damaged homes. Photo: AFP

At least 247 are reported dead as rescuers work to save those trapped in the rubble.

A long history of deadly earthquakes in Italy
Photo taken on May 17th 1976 of a nun showing a church destroyed by the Friuli-Venezia earthquake. Photo: AFP

At least 73 people were killed after a powerful earthquake struck central Italy early on Wednesday.

Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
2,507
jobs available