The State

The FBI confirmed that it is investigating fraud and embezzlements at the San Rafael-based Westamerica Bancorp, the state's 18th largest bank, after it had to write off $17.5 million in bad loans last year. The San Francisco Examiner, quoting sources who it said are close to the investigation, said the probe centers around allegations that a fired executive vice president at the bank, Joseph A. Mano III, violated federal law by arranging and approving the loans that later went bad to three developers' projects in San Francisco and Arizona, while at the same time being a silent partner in the ventures.

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