6 Italian execs arrested in probe linked to bridge collapse

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MILAN (AP) – Italian financial police on Wednesday issued arrest warrants against six current and former managers of Italy’s main private highway operator as part of investigations stemming from the Genoa bridge collapse that killed 43 people in August 2018.

Former CEO Giovanni Castelluci, maintenance director Michele Donferri Mitelli and operations manager Paolo Berti were placed under house arrest, while three managers still working for the company face restrictive measures. All are investigated for safety lapses and public contract fraud.

According to financial police, documents have emerged indicating that the six were aware that defective highway barriers had been installed in some parts of the company’s vast highway network, and resisted taking action to substitute them or otherwise ensure their safety.

Neither Autostrade SpA or Atlantia SpA, which controls it, had immediate comment. Atlantia shares were trading down 2.8% at 15.08 euros ($17.76).

Atlantia, which is controlled by the Benetton family, has agreed to exit the company that manages most of Italy’s toll roads and bridges, but terms are still being worked out. The deal avoids the possibility that the government would remove Autostrade’s concessions to run toll highways and bridges throughout the country.

A replacement bridge was opened with much fanfare this summer.

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