Italian banks issued about 40 billion euros ($52 billion) in state-backed bonds, the Italian exchange said in a filing yesterday. UniCredit issued 7.5 billion euros of the bonds and Intesa Sanpaolo created 12 billion euros of notes maturing in March. The bonds were to be used as collateral for the ECB auction, two people familiar with the situation said yesterday.


The plan, which is part of a law approved Dec. 4, allows the Treasury to offer guarantees for bonds issued by banks in order to give them more access to ECB liquidity, an effort to lower funding costs. The debt crisis has increased the risk of Italy's sovereign debt, driving up the cost of credit.

Mmmm... quasi-legal money laundering... we can't imagine either the European people or Italians in specific will be too happy about this when they find out...

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