Italy prosecutors seize Moody's, S&P documents

giovedì 4 agosto 2011 15:32

MILAN Aug 4 (Reuters) - Italian prosecutors have seized documents at the offices of rating agencies Moody's and Standard & Poor's in a probe over suspected "anomalous" fluctuations in Italian share prices, a prosecutor said on Thursday.

The measure is aimed at "verifying whether these agencies respect regulations as they carry out their work," Carlo Maria Capistro, who heads the Trani prosecutors' office which is leading the probe.

The documents were seized at the Milan offices of the two agencies on Wednesday, he said, adding that prosecutors had also asked Italian market regulator Consob to provide documents relating to their registration in Italy.

S&P in Italy said in a statement it believed the probe was "groundless".

"We strongly defend our work, our reputation and that of our analysts," it said.

Moody's was not immediately available for comment.

The Trani prosecutors have opened two probes -- one for each rating agency -- after a complaint by two consumer groups over the impact of their reports about Italy on Milan stock prices.

The first complaint was filed against Moody's after it published a report in May 2010 about the risk of contagion for Italian banks from the Greek crisis.

A second complaint filed in May this year targeted Standard & Poor's after it threatened to downgrade Italy's credit rating because of its huge public debt.   Continua...