The Bank of Italy has intervened the financial entity Banca Popolare di Bari and has appointed two extraordinary temporary administrators who will manage it until the Government decides how to rescue it and avoid bankruptcy.

The Bank of Italy informed on Friday night that it has dissolved the bank's governing bodies and appointed Enrico Ajello and Antonio Blandini extraordinary administrators, after verifying that the financial accumulates huge losses in their accounts.

The Italian central bank has also appointed a monitoring committee, consisting of three experts, who will supervise the situation, prepare the necessary documentation for possible recapitalization and negotiate with subjects potentially interested in participating in the project.

The Bank of Bari (south) has communicated that it maintains its operation.

The Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, who said in Brussels on Friday that there was no "need to intervene in any bank" for now, has asked pardon on Saturday for having lied to them and has acknowledged that he already knew about the situation when he made those statements.

"In Brussels I could not anticipate to the cameras what was happening. I apologize to the citizens, for the first time I was omitting something but I could not talk to open markets," he said at a press conference in Rome.

Not only has he apologized, but Conte has advanced that the Government will act to avoid bankruptcy, through the bank MedioCredito Centrale, which is publicly owned, as it is controlled by the Ministry of Economy through the investment agency Invitalia

"We will provide MedioCredito Centrale with the resources necessary to then intervene, together with the interbank fund, in the recovery of Banca Popolare di Bari. We will have a kind of investment bank of the South with public participation," he said.

According to the economic newspaper 'Il Sole 24 Ore', the Executive's intention is to facilitate a capital increase in MedioCredito so that he can participate, together with the Interbank Deposit Guarantee Fund (FITD) and other investors, in the rescue of the bank, that needs a capital injection of 1,000 million euros.

But for the FITD - which is financed by all Italian banks - to be interested, there must first be a viable and detailed business plan, as happened in the case of Banca Carige, intervened last January by the European Central Bank (ECB) also because of the threat of bankruptcy.

"The Government must act to save Banca Popolare di Bari as has happened with other realities of our country. Otherwise, we will observe the collapse of the entire economic fabric of the city and more than 70,000 families will lose their savings," he asked. Mayor of Bari, Antonio Decaro.

The Italian entity, which has fewer than 3,000 employees, had already initiated in recent days procedures to demand responsibilities for bad management from a former CEO and several former managers.

Italian media published this Saturday that the Bari Prosecutor's Office has opened an investigation, after the Italian stock market regulator (Consob) has reported that the bank did not send documentation on its balance sheet when it was required.

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