As regards the article published today in the Corriere della Sera newspaper entitled "Telecom, Seat e il tesoro di Madeira", Telecom Italia wishes to clarify that:
1) The operation to acquire Seat by Telecom Italia was undertaken in all regards with the greatest possible transparency and in full respect of current legal dispositions;
2) The operation was approved by all Telecom Italia directors; Chairman and CEO Roberto Colaninno and Director Emilio Gnutti spontaneously abstained in view of their holdings in Hopa and the positions they held in that company (respectively Chairman and Deputy Chairman and CEO) at the time of Telecom Italia´s acquisition of Seat;
3) Hopa SpA had a participation in Seat -- to an absolutely marginal extent -- both as an investor, from 1995 through Investitori Associati II, a Luxembourg-based closed-end fund organized in company form, and as a co-investor with this fund, from 1997, under the agreement entered into at the time of the initial investment. In both of these qualities Hopa was merely a passive investor, and as such did not take part in any decision-making with regard to the structure or management of the investment;
4) Hopa´s interest, along with its other activities, were transferred to the company that was created following the merger of Hopa and Fingruppo SpA, which took effect on 13 December 1999. The Chairman of Telecom Italia has held the position of Hopa Chairman since that date; he did not own any holding in Hopa prior to that time;
5) Telecom Italia´s acquisition of Seat was undertaken through two subsequent operations: direct acquisition of around 19% of the company at a price of 4.5 euros per share, and a voluntary public tender offer for the remaining share capital at a price of 4.2 euros per share. These operations guaranteed the greatest possible transparency with regard to the market, and equitable treatment of all shareholders;
6) At all times the market has been duly informed of every stage of the operation to acquire Seat.
As far as the content of the article is concerned, Telecom Italia reserves the right to assess any or all other courses of action for the protection of its image and interests.