New York, February 5 - The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday praised Italy's central bank for acting swiftly and taking adequate measures to help troubled lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS). Citing a report from the IMF's Financial Sector Assessment Program mission to Italy, which ended last Thursday, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told ANSA that "The Bank of Italy took swift and adequate action to deal with the problem of Monte dei Paschi di Siena". "Vigilance was tight with supervisory action sufficiently intensified as soon as the problems of MPS became acute," Rice added. A second mission by the Financial Sector Assessment Program is scheduled for March. The inspectors' role is to evaluate Italy's financial system, including the country's vigilance of banks and insurers as well as the state of health of individual financial institutions. Separately Tuesday, Italian investigators probing possible fraud at the Siena-based bank, the world's oldest, extended the scope of their inquiry to include the Republic San Marino. After meeting with colleagues from Forli' earlier Tuesday, investigators received documents concerning a prior investigation - dated 2009 - into San Marino's savings bank which saw the involvement also of MPS.
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di Giovanni Pastore