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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 12:35 PM

Italy extends rating agencies probe to Fitch


(Reuters) - Credit ratings agency Fitch was drawn into an Italian investigation of alleged market manipulation when prosecutors widened a probe beyond its two bigger rivals Standard & Poor's and Moody's, an investigative source said on Tuesday.

Tax police visited Fitch's Milan offices, less than a week after seizing documents at S&P, a senior prosecutor said.

"Men from the financial police are at Fitch in Milan," said Carlo Maria Capristo, chief prosecutor in Trani.

The source said the investigation by Trani prosecutors was extended to Fitch after its analysts said earlier this month they could downgrade Italy by two notches by the end of January.

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