Italian banks, like Italy itself, are hard to understand. For while the Italians invented banking, they aren’t very good at it anymore, so much so that they kinda don’t think they need them anymore, and had to bring a Frenchman in to run their second worst one. That Frenchman, Jean-Paul Mustier, thought the best way to save his Italian bank was by turning it into a French one.
Hedge fund Caius Capital wasn’t so sure, mostly because it thought UniCredit was playing a little fast and loose with the money it raised to shore up its capital. As it turns out, however, this was not because UniCredit did anything wrong, but because, well, it’s Italian, and its CASHES hybrid notes are as inscrutable as an Italian train schedule, or the current Italian government.
“Caius acknowledges UniCredit’s position that it has at all times acted properly in relation to the classification of its capital securities based on the approvals and guidance provided to UniCredit by its competent authorities,” according to a joint press release from the bank and the hedge fund Monday.
Financial terms of the “lump sum” settlement won by UniCredit weren’t disclosed and Caius made no admission of liability or wrongdoing, according to the statement. Caius also agreed to take no further action against UniCredit, and to “refrain generally from further discussion or public statements” in relation to the bank.
That’s probably for the best, for as both Dante and Angela Merkel know, attempting to parse an Italian bank’s financials is one of the lower circles of hell.