BANKING: Credit Where None Was Due

Credit Where None Was Due

A lending scheme that apparently took place on a branch manager's home computer in Georgia has grown into Italy's biggest banking scandal in years. Last week the disgrace claimed the two top officers of Italy's largest bank, the state-owned Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. Chairman Nerio Nesi, 64, and Director General Giacomo Pedde, 62, resigned after the bank's board heard the results of an initial probe into a scam in which the bank's Atlanta branch gave $2.6 billion worth of unauthorized export credits to Iraq to buy machinery and agricultural goods.

The branch manager, Christopher Drogoul, apparently issued the credits and kept...

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