Corrado Passera, the veteran Italian businessman and former industry minister, has teamed up with Swiss bank UBS to present a last-ditch alternative rescue proposal to the board of struggling lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena on Friday.
The proposal will be presented to MPS only hours before the world's oldest bank is expected to be ranked as one of the weakest banks in Europe when the results of the latest European stress tests are published on Friday evening.
The Siena-based lender has been racing to finalise details of a private-sector rescue package involving the sale of €10bn in non-performing loans and a €5bn capital raising before the stress-test results come out.
Some bankers are sceptical about the prospects for the €5bn capital-raising target facing its lead advisers JPMorgan Chase and Mediobanca because MPS has already burned through the €8bn it has raised over the past two years.
The involvement of Mr Passera, who ran the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo until 2011, came as a surprise to some people working closely with MPS.
They pointed out that, this month, he was sentenced to a year and 11 months in jail for complicity in manslaughter over the deaths of several workers from asbestos poisoning when he was chief executive of Olivetti in the 1990s.