La Bagnaia, May 24 - The chairman of Italy's troubled Monte dei Paschi (MPS) bank on Friday blasted former managers for covering up serious problems. "(Several former managers) decided to hide problems in order to hold on to their positions. They made choices outside the rules, cut corners and covered up problems," said Alessandro Profumo. "They took advantage of weak people who didn't have the courage to say certain decisions were mistaken". MPS, the world's oldest bank, has been mired in massive financial losses and allegations of fraud that broke open in January. It has since emerged that a previously undisclosed series of derivative and structured-finance deals produced losses of around 720 million euros. Several former MPS top brass, including ex-chairman Giuseppe Mussari, are under investigation for crimes including market manipulation, fraud, obstructing the work of banking watchdogs and issuing false statements. Italy's third-largest lender has been mired in scandal and controversy since it revealed massive losses of more than three billion euros for last year. That required a controversial government bailout worth four billion euros, which new management at the bank has pledged to repay. All of these issues "could happen elsewhere in Italy," said Profumo Friday, adding he thought the bank would successfully recover with the help from "more income, cutting costs, repurposing revenues, an increase in capital and repositioning of the closer to families and small businesses". The bank faces possible nationalization should it default.