An Italian court has ordered Bank of Valletta to pay €370 million over massive losses suffered by Deiulemar bondholders.

Shareholders of the collapsed shipping giant were found guilty of fraud and seven members of the company's founders were jailed by an Italian court in 2014.

BOV had taken over a trust that held €363 million in the company's assets in 2009. 

Bank of Valletta disputes the amount in compensation being claimed, saying the shares held were deemed worthless following the bankruptcy of Deiulemar Group.

"The bank held no other assets on behalf of the Deiulemar Group," BOV said in a statement announcing the court decision. 

BOV said it will immediately be appealing the decision to award the €370 million in compensation, in line with legal advice.

The bank clarified that Tuesday's decision will not immediately trigger any payments. 

BOV assured that pending the appeal, the bank is fully capitalised and its operations will not be adversely impacted by this decision.

In 2018, the bank had placed in excess of €363 million in the hands of an independent entity, following an order from the Tribunal of Torre Annunziata as precautionary security.

Two years later, BOV offered bondholders €50 million in an attempt to settle the case. The offer was turned down. 

The bank said at the time that the out-of-court settlement offer was made in an attempt to find a “pragmatic, commercial solution” to a messy problem.

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