Two Italian consumer groups will seek damages from Standard & Poor's after it cut Italy's sovereign rating overnight, accusing both S&P and rival ratings agency Moody's of wanting to sink the euro.
"Standard & Poor's, the same agency which made a $2 trillion ($1.3 trillion) mistake when it downgraded the United States, will be targeted by Adusbef and Federconsumatori for significant damages," the two groups said in a joint statement.
The two groups, which have a history of attacking ratings agencies, said S&P's and Moody's were bent on provoking "the financial collapse of Europe and the euro."
In a statement responding to the consumer groups' accusation that it was operating illegally because it was not registered with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), S&P said:
"ESMA has confirmed to us that we can continue to operate normally, including by publishing rating assessments, while the registration process in line with European rules is still underway."
S&P also responded to criticism from Italian politicians on Tuesday by saying its ratings decision had been based on "detailed and independent analysis of Italy's economic and fiscal prospects" and was not politically motivated.
Source and full story: The Telegraph, 20 September 2011