Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018

Priest, Taranto mayor probed as ILVA investigation widens


Taranto, November 27 - Taranto Mayor Stefano
Ippazio and a priest, Marco Gerardo, are among five more people
to have been placed under investigation in a widening probe into
environmental contamination and corruption surrounding the
troubled ILVA steel plant in Taranto, judicial sources said
Gerardo served as secretary to the former archbishop of
Taranto, Monsignor Benigno Luigi Papa.
Seven top managers were arrested on Monday, while notice
was given to ILVA Chairman Bruno Ferrante and the director of
ILVA's Taranto plant, Adolfo Buffo, that he had been placed
under investigation for defying court orders.
The plant's steel and semi-finished products were also
impounded and barred from sale on Monday.
The new, mounting legal troubles led the company to
announce an ''almost immediate'' shutdown of remaining
operations at Italy's largest steel plant in Taranto, as well as
probable closure of operations in other parts of Italy.
ILVA's Taranto plant furnaces were placed under special
administration in July, following accusations emissions from
them caused abnormally high levels of tumours and respiratory
Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri warned of
considerable risk to public order due to the shutdown's release
of 5000 steel workers from their jobs.
''There is a risk, and it is substantial,'' Cancellieri
said at the margins of a conference on Tuesday.
Workers at the plant started a strike of at least 24 hours
on Tuesday. White-collar staff at the huge site were persuaded
to stop their occupation of some offices on Tuesday, although
sit-ins continued at several gates.
Employees at ILVA's Genoa plant, meanwhile, blocked the
exit ramp from a motorway to protest against the hypothesis that
their factory could close.
Environment Minister Corrado Clini said that the government
was ready to take on prosecutors in order to keep the troubled
ILVA steel open.
ILVA and the government have been trying to keep the plant
in operation while remediation measures necessary for ILVA to
obtain environmental authorization (AIA) are carried out.
''It's clear that the aim of the Taranto prosecutors'
office is to block the application of the AIA and get the plant
closed down,'' Clini said.
''They are trying to create the conditions in which the AIA
is not applicable. This is not legal,'' Clini added.
Clini said the government would meet unions and company
representatives on Thursday, adding that the aim was to find an
agreement for a decree to keep the plant open.
''Thursday's meeting won't just be talks. We are banking on
coming out of it with measures, we are working on a decree for
the application of the AIA,'' Clini said.

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