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UPDATE 1-Italian prosecutors open new Monte Paschi investigation

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

* Probe triggered by leaks to the press after board meeting

* More funds seized from former finance chief and others (Adds police confirmation, more funds seized)

SIENA, Italy, March 5 (Reuters) - Italian financial police have searched premises connected with Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank as part of a new investigation into suspected insider trading, police said on Tuesday.

The new probe was triggered by leaks to the press about a Monte dei Paschi board meeting last week, at which it decided to seek damages from two former executives and investment banks Nomura and Deutsche Bank over derivatives losses, police said.

No comment was immediately available from the bank.

A police statement said that the searches involved two current board members, neither of whom is under investigation, and that the searches were carried out in the cities of Milan, Turin and Lecce. It gave no further details about the premises involved.

Police also seized 6 million euros ($7.8 million) in funds belonging to Monte dei Paschi's former finance chief Gian Luca Baldassarri and three other people suspected of criminal conspiracy to commit fraud, the statement said.

Baldassarri, who left Monte dei Paschi in 2012 and was arrested on Feb. 14, is at the centre of a separate investigation by prosecutors in Siena over losses linked to derivatives trades carried out between 2006 and 2009. The bank has put those losses at 730 million euros.

Last month police had already seized about 40 million euros from him and four other people.

Former executives at Monte dei Paschi, Italy's third-biggest lender, are also under investigation for alleged bribery and fraud over the bank's 2007 acquisition of smaller domestic rival Antonveneta. ($1 = 0.7687 euros) (Reporting By Silvia Aloisi; Editing by David Goodman)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130305/update-1-italian-prosecutors-open-new-monte-paschi-investigatio