Italian prosecutors on Monday requested indictment for seven managers of Standard & Poor's and Fitch international rating agencies for alleged market tampering, state television Rai said.
Prosecutors of the southern city of Trani said earlier this year that they were investigating thepossibility that "false, unfounded or imprudent judgments" had unduly affected financial markets.
Five senior figures of Standard & Poor's provided intentionally a "distorted and biased information,thus also altered" about "Italy's creditworthiness and economic recovery efforts adopted by the government," prosecutors said.
Two managers of Fitch were also alleged to disseminate information supposed to remain confidential, "in practice likely to result in a significant change in the price of financial instruments."
Last January, investigators searched S&P's offices in Milan two days after the agency downgraded Italy along with eight other countries. Five days later, police carried out checks in the Milan offices of Fitch, which downgraded Italy three days later.
Both the rating agencies have denied any wrongdoing, calling Trani prosecutors' accusations "totally unfounded," according to Rai.
The investigation was opened two years ago following a complaints submission by local consumer associations Adusbef and Federconsumatori about suspected speculation attacks against Italy's markets.