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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Arrests Made in Probe of 2018 Genoa Bridge Collapse

The Italian finance police took restrictive measures against three former Autostrade per l’Italia SpA top executives and three current managers as part of a probe stemming from the investigation of the Morandi bridge collapse.

Three of the people were put under house arrest in a probe into the safety of highway barriers linked to the collapse of a viaduct in Genoa which killed over 40 people in 2018, according to a statement. Atlantia SpA, which controls Autostrade per l’Italia, didn’t have an immediate comment.

The six former and current executives are charged with fraud and putting the safety of transportation in danger, according to the statement. Prosecutors argued managers were aware of deficiencies in the highway barriers.

Atlantia shares fell as much as 4.9% in Milan trading.

The investigators’ move comes as the billionaire Benetton family is seeking a way to end an over two-year long dispute with the Italian government on the future of its Autostrade business. The Benettons, who control Atlantia, agreed in July to cede control of its unit to a group led by Italian state-backed lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA.

Still, after months of negotiations, no deal has been reached. Atlantia rejected last month a new bid by CDP for its 88% of Autostrade. It said it will continue talks with the group to facilitate a “satisfactory, binding offer” by no later than Nov. 30.

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