Four sentences, about twenty savers involved and a sting of 400 thousand euros for Intesa SanPaolo: after years of battles and attempts (often in vain) to obtain compensation, a historic turning point arrives for consumers who have stumbled upon the Banca Polare di Vicenza shares, sold by Banca Nuova.
The Fifth Section of the Court of Palermo, with the judges Rachele Monfredi and Emanuela Rosaria Piazza, in fact accepted the appeals presented by the Palmigiano law firm – which grouped the cases into a sort of class action precisely to avoid waivers and also assist those who risked to face excessive expenses compared to the investment gone up in smoke – acknowledging the responsibility of the credit institution that acquired Banca Nuova.
The story, as is known, in the years between 2013 and 2015 it involved thousands of Sicilian savers, induced by the then officials of Banca Nuova to buy shares in the Popolare di Vicenza. Shortly after, however, the Lead Partner of the Zonin Group was put into liquidation, with legal consequences also for the top management of the bank and with enormous damage for the customers who had purchased the products of the credit institution, who lost all investments.
Now, with four newly published judgments (2406/2021; 2412/2021; 2413/2021; 2414/2021) the Fifth Section of the Court of Palermo sentenced Intesa SanPaolo to compensate twenty Sicilian savers for an amount of over 270,000 euros and to pay legal costs of approximately 130,000 euros.
“These sentences – comment the lawyers Alessandro Palmigiano and Elisabetta Violante – do justice to the clients involved, paving the way for other savers as well, and condemn a series of illegal practices that are unfortunately often common in the financial world. It may seem obvious, but it is not always easy to succeed in obtaining justice for behaviors that often find comfort in clauses and warnings hidden among the many documents that are signed and that become “traps”, difficult to identify, for those who do not have the adequate tools to decrypt the operations it is performing. All the more so if, as in this case, customers were often induced to purchase risky products. It is not acceptable that the savings of so many people, set aside with great sacrifices, have been used to bring new capital to a bank in difficulty ”.
An important result, however, the result of a path that is anything but downhill. The cases were in fact very complex, both for the difficult legal issues (Intesa claims not to be required to pay the debts of the acquired Banca Nuova), and because the judges ordered numerous tests to understand what had happened when the savers bought the shares and also requested information from the liquidation of Banca Popolare di Vicenza – which had drawn up an internal audit – but also from Consob and the Guarantor Authority, which sent documents partially classified. Dozens of witnesses were then heard, including the liquidators of Banca Popolare di Vicenza.
In the end, the Court ascertained that at the time there was a precise directive from the Gruppo Popolare di Vicenza to sell the securities with very strong pressure – even threatening or suggesting the zeroing of the top management – to push the individual branches to offer these highly risky. It also emerged that, either due to lack of knowledge or intentional, the officials of Banca Nuova proposed to savers (in some cases they almost imposed them on those who wanted to obtain mortgages) the purchase of these products without clarifying the risk and possible bankruptcy. of the Group Leader, as it later happened. Indeed, as it emerged, they often showed graphs of the stock value, highlighting the absolute solidity of Banca Popolare di Vicenza and the prospects for growth.
At first, many clients, considering the low value of the investment – many in fact had subscribed to the minimum share of 6,000 euros – had thought of giving up, but the lawyers Palmigiano and Violante proposed that they set up the legal actions as a class action, grouping multiple savers into a single lawsuit and thus reducing costs. After all, the legal issues were essentially similar for all and in the end thanks to this tool it proved to be very useful. To the point that it could now open the doors to new causes and further class actions.
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