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European shares suffered steep falls on Monday as mounting political uncertainty in the peripheral euro zone prompted investors to lock in profits on indexes trading close to multi-year highs.
The secret document at the heart of the Monte dei Paschi banking scandal lay for months in a concealed safe in a 14th century Tuscan palace. Chief Executive Fabrizio Viola said he learnt about the safe's contents only last October, a full 10 months after he had been called in to sort out Italy's third biggest bank.
Italy's technocrat prime minister, Mario Monti, is likely to lead the country again after the national election in February, Coutts Chief Investment Officer Norman Villamin told CNBC.
Monte dei Paschi di Siena said on Sunday it was seeking a financial investor as the political storm over a derivatives scandal at the ailing bank intensified ahead of next month's Italian election.
Weak GDP data for the U.K. wasn't enough to stop European shares rising on Friday as Germany's DAX Index reached a level not seen since January 2008 after business climate data was released.
Italy Central Bank Governor Ignazio Visco has told CNBC that there is no question about the stability of Italy's Monte dei Paschi bank after it suffered a $1 billion loss on derivatives trades.
European shares inched higher on Wednesday, with a key index moving back towards a near two-year high hit recently.
Shares in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy's third-biggest lender, fell more than 5 percent for the second day in a row on Wednesday on worries of mounting losses on some financial derivative positions which it took in 2008 and 2009.
Technology stocks fell to push European shares lower and send Germany's benchmark DAX index to a 2013 low on Tuesday.
European shares finished in negative territory Monday, but financials helped limit losses after global banking regulators announced a watering down of key elements of their plan for banking rules.
European shares closed lower on Friday as U.S. politicians continued to wrangle over averting the "fiscal cliff" — a series of tax increases and spending cuts that are set to kick in at the start of next year and could threaten the U.S. economy.
The terms of a state bailout scheme for Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy's third biggest lender, could pose more challenges to the bank's performance, the European Central Bank said.
European shares closed higher on Tuesday after a survey showed a sharp improvement in German investor and analyst sentiment.
European shares closed higher on Monday, but Italian shares closed firmly in the red after political uncertainty surfaced, with Prime Minister Mario Monti announcing he will step down before his term ends.
*Shareholders approve possible share issue. By Silvia Aloisi and Stefano Bernabei. SIENA, Italy, Oct 9- Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy's No.3 lender, won shareholder approval for a 1 billion euro share issue that would help it to fix a balance sheet ravaged by the euro zone debt crisis.
SIENA, Italy, Oct 9- The chief executive of Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena said on Tuesday he did not know yet the terms of 3.4 billion euros of state loans it is taking to strengthen its capital base. "I have no new information to give," Fabrizio Viola told reporters.
*Capital increase to be launched by 2015. SIENA, Italy Oct 9- Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy's No.3 lender, won approval for a 1 billion euro share issue on Tuesday to help it to fix a balance sheet ravaged by the euro zone debt crisis.
SIENA, Italy, Oct 9- Italy's third biggest lender, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, won approval on Tuesday for a capital increase of up to 1 billion euros that will be carried out by 2015.. The plan was approved by investors at an extraordinary shareholder meeting.
SIENA, Italy, Oct 9- Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena could scrap an existing 4 percent ceiling for voting rights if this was seen as undermining the outcome of a 1 billion euro capital increase to be launched by 2015, its chairman said on Tuesday.
SIENA, Italy, Oct 9- The chairman of Italy's third biggest lender, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, said on Tuesday he aimed to keep the bank "totally and absolutely" independent.