World Arrest of the former owner of the Autostrade per...

Arrest of the former owner of the Autostrade per l’Italia motorways

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648x415 genes pont effondre aout 2018

In Genoa, the bridge collapsed in August 2018. – MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Italian financial police announced on Wednesday that they had taken several measures, including residential assignments, against former and current managers of Autostrade per l’Italia (Aspi), a subsidiary of Atlantia (Benetton family), as part of of an ancillary investigation into the Genoa bridge that collapsed in 2018. According to Italian agencies, the former CEO of Autostrade (which manages Italian highways) Giovanni Castellucci, who was also boss of Atlantia, made part of the officials assigned to residence.

In a statement, the financial police indicated that three officials were under house arrest and three others placed under “interdiction measures”, without further details: they are suspected of having committed breaches concerning transport security and defrauded in public supplies. Police said these officials are suspected of having been aware of safety faults in the bridge’s antiphonic barriers and their potential danger, but of not having carried out the replacement work. The risk was particularly high in strong winds.

This announcement caused a drop in the price of Atlantia on the Milan Stock Exchange. Around 3 p.m., it gave up 2.42% to 15.1 euros, after losing nearly 5%.

The resin involved

According to Italian agencies citing the ordinance that led to house arrest, the resin used for the barriers did not have CE approval.

A technician intercepted on the phone said, according to the same source, that the barriers are glued “with Vinavil”, a simple glue used in Italian homes, in order to save as much money as possible. 140 million euros would have been needed to do the work properly. Giovanni Castellucci “was perfectly aware of the problem of barriers and constantly informed about their management, which he fully endorsed”, assures the ordinance.

This ancillary investigation was launched a year ago, in parallel with the main investigation linked to the collapse of the Genoa bridge, which left 43 people dead in August 2018. “Aspi has transformed, over the years, into automatic cash dispenser (for its owners, editor’s note) to the detriment of the safety of citizens ”, denounced elected officials of the 5 Star Movement (M5S, anti-system), members of the Transport committee. “It emerges from this investigation and listening to the dramatic lightness with which the leaders, while knowing the dangerousness of materials for motorists, managed and carried out the maintenance of the highways under their jurisdiction”, concluded the elected officials.

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