ANCONA – The former general manager questioned by the prosecutor for four hours as part of the process for the bank’s default: «He was the deputy general manager who proposed the paperwork to the board of directors. If they reached this point, it means that no anomalies were reported ”
Massimo Bianconi today at the hearing
«I have never forced the decisions for the granting of credits. The inquiries of the practices started from the individual branches and, if there were no impediments, they reached the board of directors “. Thus Massimo Bianconi, general manager of Banca Marche from 2004 to 2012, in the trial that sees him accused with twelve other people for the bankruptcy of the bank. The former manager, now retired, was interrogated this morning by the prosecutor for four hours. After a brief excursus on Bianconi’s professional career (who arrived at Banca Marche from San Paolo with a gross annual salary of one million euros, excluding bonuses), the chapter on granting credits was discussed. “If there were no binding opinions – said Bianconi – the files from the branches reach the board of directors. He was the deputy director of the Market Area (Stefano Vallesi, ed) who proposed them to the board of directors. The day before he came to me to analyze them and I shared their choices. If I had wanted to, I could have stopped them ». If some councilors asked for clarification, «I could intervene and if for some positions there were doubts, the file was immediately withdrawn. It also happened that practices were dealt with when I was not even present ». Before the day of the meeting, however, the councilors would not have access to the files. The former member of the board of directors Francesco Cesarini, in his testimony had instead focused attention on the “little dialectic” within the board and how the centralizing force was on Bianconi. Thesis denied by the former dg: “I have never allowed myself to speed up opinions on practices or to force decisions,” he said in the courtroom. The main accusation is having granted credit openings to entrepreneurs already exposed in an important way. The first customer mentioned by the prosecutor was the Ancona entrepreneur Pietro Lanari: «He has always been a client of Banca Marche. With him I only had a convivial meeting for lunch, in Porto Recanati, together with Vallesi. It was an opportunity to present a project to us. Then he always came to the bank ».
«The Santa Cristiana di Numana complex – continued the former CEO – seemed to me to be an interesting project. I told Lanari to go to the branch in order to prepare the investigation ». Same procedure for the former Sacelit of Senigallia where a residential complex was to be built: “For us the project had its validity, because it would have increased tourism”. Nothing to do, however, for a mega project in Argentina, in Mar De Plata, where «Lanari had bought a piece of land: he wanted to build a hotel, a shopping center and a series of villas. He paid for the trip to Argentina, I left Rome. One day I visited the project area and then at my own expense I stayed two days in Buenos Aires. I went back to Italy, compared myself with Vallesi and we decided that the project for Banca Marche was not plausible. We were already very exposed to Lanari ». The same entrepreneur, heard as witnesses before the lockdown, had talked about about 250 million open credit lines. The failure of the Group connected to Lanari led to the blockade of the construction sites (for Bianconi who started between 2010 and 2011) and several unfinished ones, still visible today. The same procedures for granting loans would have been followed for the relationship with Vittorio Casale, an entrepreneur arrested for bankruptcy in 2011 (“after the news we immediately called the board of directors and ran aground on the positions”) and co-accused with Bianconi in the corruption trial between private individuals, ended for Casale with an acquittal. After the questions of the prosecutor, those of the civil parties. Those established are more than 3 thousand.
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