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No 12 (May 98/Mai 98/Mai 98)
Following a violation of EU rules on the statutory auditing of the accounts of cooperative banks, the European Commission has decided to send Italy a reasoned opinion to Italy.
The Directive on the annual and consolidated accounts of banks (86/635/EEC) imposes an obligation on all financial institutions to have their accounts audited by a professional meeting the minimum requirements laid down by the 8th Directive does not allow any exemption from this requirement in the case of cooperative banks. The deadline for implementation of the annual accounts of banks Directive was 31 December 1990 and banks had to apply the Directive's provisions no later than 1993.
However, under current Italian regulations, cooperative banks ("banca di credito cooperativo" and "banca popolari") are not specifically required to have their accounts audited by professionals authorised under the Italian law (DL88/92) which implements the 8th Directive. The Italian authorities informed the Commission in December 1996 that they were in the process of dealing with the problem. As the necessary regulations are still not in place, the Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response from Italy, within two months of receipt, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice.
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