A Milan judge has rejected a request to shelve a case against former top executives at Monte dei Paschi di Siena (>> Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA) as part of an investigation for alleged market rigging and false accounting, judicial sources said on Friday.
The investigation started in Florence in 2015 following complaints filed by small shareholders and consumer associations.
Prosecutors in Milan, where the case was transferred in July because of jurisdiction over market manipulation crimes, in September asked for the case against Monte dei Paschi's former Chairman Alessandro Profumo and Chief Executive Fabrizio Viola to be shelved.
However, consumer association Codacons opposed the request.
On Friday, a Milan judge told prosecutors to present a request that Viola and Profumo be sent to trial, two judicial sources told Reuters. A different judge will then have to rule over that request.
A lawyer for both Viola and Profumo said he could not comment as the judge's decision had not been notified yet.
Profumo denied any wrongdoing and said he had full confidence in the justice system.
The former chairman of Monte dei Paschi has been designated as the new CEO of state-owned defence firm Leonardo-Finmeccanica (>> Leonardo SpA) while Viola is CEO of Popolare di Vicenza, an ailing bank which has requested a state bailout.
The case revolves around the way Monte dei Paschi booked two derivative trades in its accounts between 2011 and 2014.
(Reporting by Manuela D'Alessandro, writing by Valentina Za, Editing by Crispian Balmer and Susan Fenton)