Telecom Italia probed by market regulator

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Consob and financial police carried out an inspection of Telecom Italia's offices in Milan and Rome. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
17:05 CET+01:00
Italy's market regulator Consob and financial police on Wednesday carried out an inspection of Telecom Italia's offices in Milan and Rome following the company's decision to sell assets.

"We have carried out an inspection related to developments from the last board meeting" on November 7th, the Consob press office said.

At that meeting Telecom Italia's board approved a 2014-2016 plan including selling its stake in Telecom Argentina as well as telephone masts in Italy and Brazil in order to raise some €4.0bn.

The disposals aim to help reduce the company's staggering €28.8bn mountain of debt.

Minority investors have accused Telecom Italia of acting purely in the interests of its main shareholders.

"The inspection could have been ordered following a complaint to Consob," Italy's financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore said on its website.

Telecom Italia confirmed "its company offices are undergoing inspection by officials" and said in a statement that it "underlines that it has always operated in compliance with the laws and regulations that regulate the financial market."

It said it "guarantees the maximum collaboration with the authorities."

The board meeting was the first since chairman Franco Bernabe stepped down last month following uproar in Italy over a campaign by Spain's Telefonica to boost its stake in the embattled company.

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Telefonica now holds a 66 percent stake in a holding company which in turn owns 22.4 percent of Telecom Italia, but has an option to own the holding company outright next year and become the largest shareholder in Telecom Italia.

The Italian government is looking into ways of modifying the current law on takeovers to prevent Telefonica from increasing its stake, saying this would mean more security and more jobs for Italy.

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