A Milan court seized 245 million euros (about 340 million U.S. dollars) from Italian bank Unicredit in a tax fraud probe, local newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Tuesday.
Unicredit, Italy's biggest bank, is alleged to have committed tax evasion by using a complex financial product set up by British lender Barclays, and drastically reduced its taxable revenues in Italy between 2007 and 2008.
Former Unicredit CEO Alessandro Profumo and another 16 officials are currently under investigation for having authorized and allowed the allegedly illegal operation, according to the Milan-based newspaper.
On Tuesday, Standard and Poor's Ratings Service cut its credit ratings on other three key Italian banks - Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Banco Popolare and UBI Banca.
The move was part of a broader downgrade of a group of 24 Italian financial institutions, which reflected the recent lowering of the country's sovereign rating on the basis of weaker economic growth prospects.
"In our opinion, renewed market tensions in the euro zone's periphery, particularly in Italy, and dimming growth prospects have led to further deterioration in the operating environment for Italian banks," said the ratings agency.