The largest shareholder of Imvest is a firm called Meti Capital, of which Capaldo is also a part owner. Odikon is also a major shareholder of Meti.
In 2016, Imvest offices were raided by Italian financial police in connection to charges of coordinated fraud, submission of false budgets, and false accounting. Those raids included 13 other businesses and several individuals invested in Imvest, chief among them Alfio Marchini, a wealthy Italian entrepreneur and politician.
Marchini, a twice-failed candidate for mayor of Rome while standing as a candidate for the 5 Star Alliance with the backing of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, owned a controlling interest in Imvest in 2015, the year under investigation. He owned the controlling interest through his company Astrim SpA, which was also included in the 2016 raids.
Another company included in the raids and connected to Marchini is Methorios Capital SpA, which is linked to Optimum Asset Management, a company currently in litigation with the Vatican.
Optimum is both suing and being sued by the Vatican’s Institute for Works of Religion (IOR, commonly called the Vatican Bank). The IOR is suing in Malta over millions of euros in investments by the Vatican bank in another Optimum vehicle, Futura Funds Sicav.
In 2017, the Malta Independent reported Futura Fund’s main shareholder is Futura Investment Management Ltd. which is majority owned by Futura Investment Holding Ltd., the main shareholder of which is Alberto Matta, who is the company’s only director as well as chairman of Optimum Asset Management.
Futura Fund’s website said in 2017 that the company was started in 2011 “by the management team of Optimum Asset Management,” and that “Futura Investment Management Ltd.” is an “affiliated company” of Optimum Asset Management.
Optimum Asset Management told CNA that Futura was a “simple minority shareholder” of Methorios, and that its interest in the company was eventually sold.
The Methorios 2016 annual report, however, listed Optimum’s Futura Funds as a “relative majority shareholder” of Methorios. Futura sold its stake in Methorios in November 2016, following raids conducted by the Guardia di Finanza, which targeted over ten different companies associated with Methorios Capital SpA and investigated possible fraud involving financial statements from 2014 and 2015.
Methorios and Optimum also shared a common executive and director: In October 2013 Methorios SpA appointed Girolamo Stabile as-vice chairman of its board of directors. At the same time, Stabile served as managing director of Optimum Asset Management, and a board member, and chief risk officer of Optimum Evolution Fund SIF. In June 2015 Stabile resigned from his position at Methorios; however, at that time Futura Funds SICAV Plc remained the largest single shareholder of Methorios, owning 32% of the company’s shares.
Futura Funds also has had a close relationship with Imvest, and purchased the whole of Imvest’s first bond issuance in 2013 - worth 30 million euros. The bonds were unsecured, and Imvest used all the proceeds to finance a loan to its own shareholder: Astrim, Marchini’s company, which was the largest shareholder in 2015.
By March 2016, Methorios was the largest shareholder in Imvest; Futura became the largest shareholder in Methorios in 2015.
A representative for Optimum told CNA that Futura recouped its investment in Imvest “upon commencement of a lawsuit against Mr Marchini and related entities.”
At present, “Futura Funds SICAV has no relationship with Mr Marchini, Imvest or Astrim, whereas Optimum Asset Management is in no way involved in this matter which is now closed,” the representative said.
Banco Popolare di Vincenza
In 2015, L’Espresso reported that Optimum had been identified by banking regulators in connection with an investigation of Banca Popolare di Vincenza. That bank was alleged to have fraudulently funneled money meant for outside investments back into investment in the bank itself.
In 2017 European and Italian bank regulators fined Banca Popolare di Vicenza €11.2m for serious breaches of its reporting and disclosure requirements from 2014-2016, in addition to a concentrated investment in two funds—the Optimum Evolution Fund and Athena Capital Balanced Fund—that violated large exposure limits, even as the bank’s financial position deteriorated. The fund managers were not charged with any wrongdoing, however, the bank was forced into insolvency proceedings and sold.
Athena Capital Fund group, run by Raffaele Mincione, was also hired by the Vatican Secretariat of State to invest assets from Peter’s Pence. By making the concentrated investments in the two funds, the bank was alleged to have obscured the true nature of its risk exposure.
Italian media have estimated that alleged misconduct by Banca Popolare di Vincenza involved hundreds of millions of euros and it was fined, and then closed by a forced sale in 2017.
This article as originally published described Methorios Captial SpA as a “subsidiary” of Optimum Asset Management. After being contacted by representatives of Optimum, the text has been corrected to make explicit the relationship between the two entities.
Optimum also objected to the description of its relationship with Banca Popolare di Vincena, noting that it did not purchase shares of the bank in the investigated 2014 share capital increase and “has never been involved in any fraudulent scheme whatsoever.” The text has been updated to reflect the relationship between the companies as described in the bank’s 2016 annual report.