Seven people have been arrested on suspicion of various crimes including conspiracy to commit fraud, bankruptcy, embezzlement and tax evasion at the expense of three major Italian pension funds – the accountants’ pension scheme Cassa di Previdenza dei Ragionieri, the journalists’ scheme INPGI and the doctors’ scheme Enpam.

The suspects are well-known personalities in the Italian finance sector revolving around Italian investment company Sopaf.

They have been named by Italian media as Ruggero Magnoni, former European vice-president of Lehman Brothers and chairman of the Italian arm of Nomura; his brothers Aldo Magnoni, founder of Oak Fund, and Giorgio Magnoni, chief executive at Sopaf; and the former’s son Luca Magnoni, a board member at Sopaf.

The Guardia di Finanza (Italian financial crime police) has also arrested Andrea Toschi, former chairman of Arner Bank and chief executive at Sopaf-owned asset manager Adenium, Alberto Ciaperoni of Sopaf and accountant Gianluca Selvi.

None of them is currently or has been an employee of any of the three funds.

The alleged crimes are thought to have netted the suspects almost €80m, with €50m taken from the Cassa dei Ragionieri, €7m from INPGI and €20m from Enpam.

The nature of the alleged crimes, which date back to 2009, is yet to be fully clarified.

It is alleged, however, that Cassa dei Ragionieri was subtracted the sum through asset manager Adenium, with the funds being shifted from another company – HPS, owned by Gianluca Selvi – to tax havens and then back to the suspects’ account.

Regarding INPGI and Enpam, Milan prosecutor Gaetano Ruta justified the arrests with the allegation that Sopaf, which was managing part of the pension funds’ assets, sold the two schemes stakes in Fondo Immobili Pubblici (FIP), a state-run real estate fund, at unjustifiably high prices, making an illicit profit.

An Enpam spokesperson specified that the returns form the stakes in FIP owned by Enpam have been positive, with no loss made on that investment.

Between 2011 and 2012, Enpam was involved in a scandal that saw former chairman Eolo Parodi, other former employees and advisers being arrested under the suspicion of wrongdoing.

They are soon to be tried for charges relating to ‘toxic’ investment in CDOs that had put a sizeable part of Enpam’s finances at risk.

Enpam’s, which currently has €15bn in assets, recently turned around its investment policy, scaling back on riskier assets