The Bank of Italy made no effort to stop the re-appointment of former Monte dei Paschi chairman Giuseppe Mussari as head of the Italian Banking Association last year despite turmoil surrounding the troubled lender, the new head of the association said on Thursday.

The comment to Reuters by Antonio Patuelli, confirmed as new head of ABI on Thursday, underlines the growing question over why the Italian central bank did not take tougher action against the former management of Monte Paschi despite being aware of serious problems at the bank.

Mussari, who left Monte Paschi in April last year after it emerged that the bank had booked big losses on derivatives contracts, resigned as ABI president last week when further derivatives losses emerged.

(Reporting By Giselda Vagnoni and Alberto Sisto)