Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica has denied Italian news reports which alleged it created slush funds abroad and dragged its shares down 5 percent. Digint, a group 49-percent owned by Finmeccanica, is at the centre of an investigation by Rome prosecutors into possible links with businessman Gennaro Mokbel, who was arrested in February on suspicion of money laundering.
“With reference to today’s publication of news relating to Finmeccanica’s alleged slush funds, the group once again reiterates that it has never created slush funds either in Italy or abroad,” Finmeccanica said in a statement on Monday. The investigation into Digint stemmed from a separate inquiry into money-laundering at telecom companies Fastweb and Telecom Italia Sparkle.
The investigation also led to the arrest of Lorenzo Cola, a former consultant to Finmeccanica. Neither Chief Executive Lorenzo Guarguaglini nor Finmeccanica are under investigation. Traders said Italian press reports stoked by a special report of Italian TV show Report into Finmeccanica on Sunday had triggered a sell-off in the shares.
Shares in Finmeccanica were down 5 percent at 8.7 euros per share at 1636 GMT, underperforming a 2.3 percent fall in the Italian FTSE MIB blue-chip index. “This latest publication of news describing the Group’s involvement in judicial matters is heavily penalising Finmeccanica’s share price on the financial markets,” Finmeccanica also said.