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INSURANCE

Family arrested over €600 million insurance loss

A prominent Italian businessman and his two daughters were arrested on Wednesday and police are searching for his son in an investigation into insurance company Fondiaria-SAI, Italian media reported.

Family arrested over €600 million insurance loss
Salvatore Ligresti and one of his daughters, Jonella Ligresti. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Salvatore Ligresti, the former chairman of Fondiaria-SAI, was placed under house arrest and Jonella and Giulia Maria Ligresti have been jailed.

His son, Gioacchino Paolo Ligresti, is believed to be in Switzerland and is officially considered on the run.

Police also arrested three ex-managers at the company.

The business daily Il Sole 24 Ore said the Turin prosecutor's office, which is leading the investigation, suspects the people arrested hid important information from investors in the company.

The company had concealed €600 million in losses, the report quotes prosecutors as saying, which could have impacted 12,000 savers.

Fondiaria-SAI is also being targeted by a second investigation by the Milan prosecutor's office.

Ligresti had previously been convicted of corruption after a wave of investigations in the early 1990s.

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INSURANCE

Italian police bust bone-breaking insurance fraud gangs

Italian authorities have busted two Sicilian gangs who used body-building weights to smash the bones of victims in order to commit insurance fraud, police said on Wednesday.

Italian police bust bone-breaking insurance fraud gangs
Photo: Palermo Police

Eleven people from the Sicilian capital Palermo have been arrested, police said.

They include a hospital nurse who would procure painkillers for the victims in order to lessen their screams as their bones were broken.

“The two criminal associations broken up as a result of police investigations demonstrated a particular cruelty in the way they hurled cast iron discs like those used in gyms at the victims' limbs,” police said in a
statement.

A police spokesman in Palermo told AFP that the gangs, operating separately in the city, smashed the bones of the victims, often drug addicts, alcoholics or people in severe economic difficulty, in order to stage fake road crashes and cash in on insurance payouts.

The gangs would place the victims alongside damaged vehicles on the side of roads on the outskirts of Palermo and use fake witnesses to speak to emergency services.

The victims, who police said would choose which bones they wanted broken, were attracted to the scams with promises of a 30-percent cut of the payouts, which police say were as high as €150,000 ($174,000) depending on the extent of the injuries.

However the gangs would often only pay 50-100 euros, if anything, to the victims, who were often reduced to using crutches or wheelchairs as a result of their injuries.

Police said that one of the two gangs inadvertently killed a Tunisian man in January last year when it broke his bones in order to stage an accident.

Despite his death, the gang continued with the scam, putting the corpse on the side of a road and claiming the insurance.