An Italian court indicted officials from ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch on Tuesday over accusations of market manipulation related to cuts to Italy’s sovereign debt ratings during the euro zone debt crisis in 2011 and 2012.
A court in the small southern city of Trani also indicted the two companies for their legal liability in the case through the actions of their employees.
The trial is due to start on Feb. 4, 2015.
The judge ordered five current and former employees of Standard & Poor’s and one from Fitch to stand trial over accusations that sensitive reports were released during trading hours, causing heavy losses on stock and bond markets.
S&P said in a statement the allegations were “completely unfounded and unsupported by any evidence”.
Fitch added in a separate note that it disagreed with the judge’s decision and was confident that the agency and its officials would be exonerated as the proceedings continue.
The investigation initially also included the third major ratings agency, Moody’s, but prosecutors later dropped the case against it.
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