How Bloomberg uncovered an Italian bank scandal

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Ryan Chittum of Columbia Journalism Review writes about how Bloomberg News reporters Elisa Martinuzzi and Nicholas Dunbar uncovered a scandal at the Italian central bank.

Chittum writes, “Meantime, the political upheaval is helping cause the temperature to rise in the euro crisis again. The story has gotten relatively short shrift in The Wall Street Journal, though The New York Times weighed in last week with 1,600 words.

“Bloomberg broke the story by getting hold of 70 pages of documents about the deals—documents the Italian bankers (or most of them, anyway) apparently didn’t want out. Monte Paschi is now in the middle of another government bailout. The big question is whether these derivatives deals were limited to Monte Paschi or whether other banks in Italy and in the rest of Europe did them too.

“As Bloomberg columnist Jon Weil writes, ‘The first people to tell the public that the world’s oldest bank was cooking its books weren’t the bank’s executives, its outside auditors at KPMG, its regulators at the Bank of Italy, or anyone else who had a duty to keep the place honest. They were journalists with a good source: a stack of documents from another bank that helped craft the scheme.’

“This is one to watch. Hats off to Bloomberg for uncovering it.”

Read more here.