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Opinion

Conflicted?

Someone always benefits from a crisis. And in the crisis-torn world of banking, the PR community is having a busy old time of it. Few, perhaps, are as busy as Giovanni Sanfelice of the London office of Barabino and Partners.

We first encountered Giovanni when asking Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena how it intended to navigate its way from a murky €4 billion corruption scandal that almost brought it down, threatening Italy with it. MPS didn’t respond, but Giovanni did, although he failed to secure us an interview.

Then we asked ABI, the Italian banking association, for its take on the crisis at its third-biggest member and how it was responding to public calls for reform and transparency of Italian banks.

Lo, we heard again from Giovanni. “This time I’m writing you with ABI’s hat.”

Intrigued, and minded that a defining issue of Italian banking is its myriad conflicts with politicians, clerics and sundry other hangers-on, we asked ABI if it knew the multi-hatted Giovanni was repping them while also fronting for MPS. We also noted that the two of them shared one Giuseppe Mussari as their main man – MPS as CEO and ABI as chairman – until he hurriedly resigned from both as the MPS scandal exploded.

ABI didn’t respond, but Giovanni did, this time grumpy that we’d dared to ask ABI about him.

So we asked Giovanni if he or Barabino also wore the hats of other Italian banks and if he was a mate of Mussari’s.

His answer? “Probably.”

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