For anyone who grew up watching M*A*S*H (Yes, I know I’m old, I’ll be forty in a few hours) you may know that the theme song to this long running show and 1972 film of the same name was “Suicide is Painless.” I can’t help but feel that Johnny Mandel (music) and Mike Altman (lyrics) were not referring to jumping out of your third floor office window.
In the case of David Rossi, the former spokesman of the scandal hit Italian Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BIT:BMPS) whose body was found on Wednesday evening, you have to wonder if he was making one last statement. I ask only because the bank’s headquarters is a restored 14th century fortress.
“The injuries are all compatible with the hypothesis of suicide,” said a source speaking to Reuters, who has direct knowledge of the investigation into how Rossi died.
Another source speaking to Reuters said a note was recovered from his office waste basket that read “I have done a stupid thing.”
Given Rossi’s position and closeness to former chairman Giuseppe Mussari, who is under investigation in both the Antonveneta case and the probe over derivative losses I can’t be the only person saying, “COULD YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC!!” For those unaware, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BIT:BMPS), Italy’s third-largest bank, is at the centre of investigations into alleged corruption and fraud over the costly 2008 acquisition of Antonveneta bank and their unseemly derivative trading.
But perhaps to truly reach scandal proportions in the country of Machiavelli, the Medici family, and Silvio Berlusconi, you need a suicide (or two like Romeo and Juliet) in order for people to sit up and take notice, presumably after their four hour nap that follows lunch.
Perhaps Rossi’s death and choice of windows will shed some light on who the real players were in this politically charged scandal that is reaching the proportions of the accounting fraud at dairy firm Parmalat ten years ago. Given the open window in his office more potential evidence may be collected.
Police seized Rossi’s cell phones and files from his computer as they seek to piece together his final days and hours, hours that seemingly leave Rossi as one of the few Italian bankers without a mistress. When Rossi failed to return home by 7pm, yes 7PM, on Wednesday his wife called his assistant who found his body below his office window.
NOTE: Rossi’s death is not funny and we do not want to give the impression that we find it a laughing matter. We send our condolences to Rossi’s family.