Prosecutors seek trial for 59 over Italy bridge disaster

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 26 2021 12:15 AM

Italian prosecutors have called for 59 people to stand trial over the deadly Genoa bridge collapse, on various charges of manslaughter and negligence, local news reports said Friday.

The bridge's collapse in August 2008 killed 43 people and shed a spotlight on Italy's decaying infrastructure, and the role of Autostrade per l'Italia (ASPI), the private motorway operator accused of failing to maintain the major viaduct. 

A hearing, in which a judge will be called to review the prosecutors' request and eventually set the date for a trial, is not expected before September. 

The prosecutors' list includes top ASPI executives, including former CEO Giovanni Castellucci, and top managers from engineering company Spea. Both companies are subsidiaries of Italian infrastructure group Atlantia, which is controlled by the Benetton family.

Potential defendants also include officials within the transport ministry.

The Genoa prosecutors cited "awareness of the risk" by the suspects, news agency AGI wrote.

In their final report on their investigation into the disaster, published in April, prosecutors highlighted "incomplete" and "inadequate" inspections, according to news reports. 

They noted, for example, that the bridge piers were inspected from below, using binoculars, rather than from up close.

The Benetton family has faced strong pressure since the Genoa bridge collapse to leave the business of running Italy's highways, and they recently agreed to put ASPI back into public hands. 

On June 12, Atlantia said it signed a deal to sell its 88 percent stake in ASPI to a consortium led by state-backed investment bank CDP for 9.3 billion euros ($11.1 billion), leading to the de facto renationalisation of Italian motorways.