MILAN, May 6 (Reuters) - Italy's stock market watchdog
should have wider powers to fight corporate wrongdoing,
including that of removing board members of listed companies,
its head said on Monday.
The call by Consob Chairman Giuseppe Vegas follows a series
of high-profile corporate scandals, including allegations of
financial irregularities at insurer Fondiaria-SAI, big
loses linked to risky derivatives trades at No. 3 lender Monte
dei Paschi and alleged corruption in Algeria by
Europe's biggest oil service group Saipem.
Consob's existing oversight powers - including the
possibility of starting a probe and seizing funds - are
essentially limited to instances of insider trading and market
manipulation and can target those who sit on a company's
internal audit committee but not top executives.
Those powers should be extended to board members and also
cover other offences, such as false corporate statements or
irregular transactions between units of the same company, Vegas
said at Consob's annual meeting with the financial community.
"The possibility of taking precautionary measures (against
board members) ... could allow us to intervene before
irreparable damage is done," Vegas said, referring to the
possibility for Consob to remove or at least suspend those
suspected of illict behaviour.
(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by David Holmes)