Olivetti chief in criminal inquiry

The crisis at Olivetti took a new twist yesterday as Francesco Caio, chief executive of the embattled Italian computer group, was named in a criminal investigation into allegations that its management had falsified first-half results.

News of the investigation by prosecutors based in Ivrea, home of Olivetti's headquarters, sent its shares plunging to a new low and forced Italian stock market regulators to suspend dealings for the third time in a fortnight.

By the time the shares were suspended they had fallen by 10 per cent to 516 lire. Two attempts to lift the suspension and resume trading in the shares failed.

The market was also unnerved by Olivetti's abrupt cancellation of planned meetings between Mr Caio and investors in Milan and London to reassure them of the company's future and financial position.

Between 30 and 40 per cent of the shares are held in London by institutional investors who took part in a pounds 913m rescue rights issue by Olivetti last December.

Olivetti said that the meetings would now take place at the end of September when it formally publishes its first half results.

But the markets were unimpressed. "Watching Olivetti is like watching Dallas," said one Italian equity trader. "Every day there is a new sorry episode."

Mr Caio, who took over the running of the company after the resignation of its long-standing chairman Carlo De Benedetti, was added to the list of executives being investigated by two Italian judges who are examining whether the first-half accounts, showing losses of 440bn lire were falsified.

The crisis erupted when Renzo Francesconi quit as chief financial officier of Olivetti three weeks ago alleging that the extent of the group's losses had been disguised. He had only been at Olivetti for six weeks.

The Italian stock market watchdog, Consob, promptly launched an investigation and it is still unclear whether company has answered all its questions.

Mr Francesconi was interviewed by the prosecutors for nine hours last week.

He has stuck by his claims even though Olivetti has threatened legal action against him.

The criminal investigation is just one of several inquiries facing Olivetti.

It has been called before the Italian industry ministry and last week Mr Caio faced questioning by the industry committee of Italy's lower house, the senate.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before