A court in Milan sentenced former governor of the Bank of Italy Antonio Fazio to three and a half years in jail for his attempts to block a foreign takeover of an Italian lender, local press reported on Monday.
Fazio, 75, was accused for his involvement in a failed five-billion-euro (seven billion U.S. dollars) takeover bid in 2005 by insurer Unipol for Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), which was later acquired by French bank BNP Paribas.
Giovanni Consorte, former president of Unipol, also received a sentence of three years and 10 months in jail, and a fine of 1.3 million euros (about 1.8 million U.S. dollars).
Fazio's lawyer, Roberto Borgogno, called the sentence "unjust" and said the former Italian central bank governor was "more and more dismayed as he cannot find any reason for this sentence," according to ANSA news agency.
Fazio, who headed the Bank of Italy from 1993 to 2005, resigned in December 2005 after Milanese prosecutors investigated him as part of a probe into another fraud at Banca Popolare Italiana (BPI), now part of Italy's Banco Popolare.
The former governor was alleged to have backed BPI's bid for Banca Antonveneta, a rival bank that ABN Amro was interested in purchasing, and has been already sentenced to four years in jail as well as to pay a 1.5 million euros (two million U.S. dollars) fine by a Milan court last May.