Impregilo chairman resigns

By Helen Wright06 June 2012

Massimo Ponzellini has stepped down as chairman of Italian contractor Impregilo following his arrest in Italy on allegations of bribery. The allegations relate to his previous job as chairman of Italian bank Popolare di Milano.

Mr Ponzellini's resignation took effect on 31 May, and the company said it planned to appoint former UniCredit director Fabrizio Palenzona as his successor. Mr Palenzona's appointment has not been officially announced, however.

Italian prosecutors allege that Popolare di Milano granted large loans in exchange for €5.7 million in bribes. Mr Ponzellini was one of three people arrested by Milan prosecutors in connection with an investigation into irregular loans granted by the bank. He left Popolare di Milano at the end of 2011, and has been chairman of Impregilo since May 2007.

In a statement, Impregilo said, "The resignation reflects Mr Ponzellini's desire to enable the company to continue operating with great transparency on all markets and avoid possible manipulation, direct or indirect, of the judicial matters in which he has been involved recently in connection with another professional position he held in the past."

The news comes as Impregilo is at the centre of a hostile takeover battle. Privately-owned Italian contractor Salini has amassed a 29.2% stake in Impregilo, and has outlined its intention to pursue a strategic tie-up between the two companies.

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