Monday 5 December 2016

€16m profits for Berlusconi-linked Mediolanum investment bank

Simon Rowe

Published 20/11/2016 | 02:30

Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi
Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi

The Dublin branch of an Italian investment bank that counts former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi among its largest shareholders generated fee income of €26.5m and increased its headcount by 25pc last year, according to company filings.

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Ballsbridge-based Mediolanum Asset Management has €34bn under management and posted post-tax profits of €16.6m for the year ending December 2015. Headcount was up from 34 to 42. Last year the Italian financial services giant settled a dispute with Italy's tax authorities linked to its Irish affiliates.

Mediolanum is partly owned by Berlusconi's Fininvest, which holds a 30.1pc stake. Last December the Milan-headquartered financial services firm confirmed it would pay €120m to the Italian tax agency, plus interest. Mediolanum said that in view of provisions already made, the additional cost of settlement on its 2015 accounts is €31.2m. Chaired by Gerry Keenan, Mediolanum Ireland is part of the Italian Mediolanum Banking Group and has been established in Dublin since 1997.

In October 2014, the Bank of Italy ordered Berlusconi's investment vehicle Fininvest to sell a stake of just over 20pc in Mediolanum because he was no longer considered fit to own more than 10pc of a financial company after being convicted for tax fraud. An Italian appeals court later ruled in favour of Fininvest's request to cancel the forced sale.

However, Fininvest's voting rights on 20.1pc of Mediolanum were frozen earlier this month following an ECB decision against the Berlusconi family holding company's stake in the bank.

The rights are on the portion of the stake exceeding 9.99pc, said an Italian financial regulator. Fininvest is appealing the decision.

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