Telecom Italia ‘not informed’ of investigation

Telecom Italia SpA has not been officially informed that executives in the company are under investigation by magistrates in Turin, Italy, the company said in a statement.

Chairman and CEO Roberto Colaninno and at least three members of the Telecom Italia board are under investigation for false company reporting, Italian newspapers reported Thursday. Prosecutors in Turin, who reportedly ordered the investigation, were unavailable for comment.

Deputy chairman Sergio Erede, the Italian carrier’s principal legal consultant, Lorenzo Pellicioli, CEO of the directories company Seat Pagine Gialle SpA, and Emilio Gnutti, a Telecom Italia board member and a major shareholder in the telecommunication group, are among those currently being probed by the Turin prosecutors, the reports said.

Among the alleged crimes being investigated are insider trading and false company reporting, according to the reports. Particular issues being examined include the value attributed to Telecom Italia’s Internet subsidiary SpA when it merged with Seat Pagine Gialle, abnormal price fluctuations of Seat shares in late 1999 and early 2000, and a 168 billion lire (US$74 million) bonus paid to Pellicioli on completion of the merger last year, Corriere della Sera reported.

Colaninno and Gnutti had stakes in both Seat, which was being sold, and Telecom Italia, which was buying, the Milan daily said. Published reports suggested Telecom Italia failed to provide adequate information on this conflict of interests to shareholders, but the company has pointed out that both Gnutti and Colaninno abstained from voting at the board meeting that ratified the purchase.

In the issued statement, Telecom Italia said that it always acted in full respect for the law, in the interests of all the shareholders, with openness and coherently with the principles of corporate governance.

Telecom Italia, in Rome, can be contacted at