(Adds lawyer's comments, background)
ROME, June 16 (Reuters) - The Italian government is considering intervening to prevent troubled lender Veneto Banca from having to repay 86 million euros ($96 million) worth of subordinated bonds due to mature next week, a source said on Friday.
The cabinet will discuss the matter later on Friday, the source added. If Veneto Banca were to honor the repayment, it could anger other bondholders who risk bearing large losses under the rules of any future bailout of the lender.
But if the bank decided not to pay back the bond, it could trigger a default. The source close to the situation said this scenario could be avoided if the government imposed a suspension of the repayment.
Veneto Banca and fellow regional lender Banca Popolare di Vicenza have turned to the state to fill a 6.4 billion euro ($7 billion) capital shortfall as they seek to offload bad debts.
Talks between the government and the European Commission, which must approve state aid, have dragged on for months as Brussels demands an injection of 1.25 billion euros in private capital before any taxpayer money can be used to bail out the two banks.
Rome has put pressure on other Italian banks to step in but to little avail so far. With both Veneto lenders bleeding deposits, a European Union official warned last month that the two banks may be wound down if no deal is reached by the end of June.
But before that, the subordinated bond issued by Veneto Banca and falling due on June 21 is creating a headache for the bank and the Italian government.
Legal experts say that repaying the bond could expose the bank to potential legal claims from other bondholders who face substantial losses in the event of a bailout under EU rules for dealing with bank crises.
Given the bank's precarious situation, its board members could also be held responsible if they authorized the bond's repayment.
"The situation is very delicate, the subordinated bond is one of the thorniest issues at the moment," another source close to the matter said. Veneto Banca was not immediately available for comment.
($1 = 0.8953 euros) (Reporting Giuseppe Fonte and Valentina Za; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Adrian Croft)