Four arrested in L'Aquila rebuild bribery probe

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309 people were killed when an earthquake struck L'Aquila in April 2009. Photo: Mario Laporta/AFP
10:25 CET+01:00
Four people, including two former politicians, have been arrested for allegedly rigging contracts related to the reconstruction of the central Italian town of L'Aquila after it was devastated by an earthquake in April 2009.

Police carried out raids across the province in the early hours of Wednesday as part of an investigation into kickbacks allegedly accepted by public officials in exchange for contracts to rebuild the town following the earthquake which left 309 people dead on April 6th 2009, La Stampa reported.

The bribery is also said to have included contracts in exchange for payments towards political party campaigning, according to a report in La Repubblica.

Among the four arrested are Pierluigi Tancredi, a former politician with Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party and Vladimiro Placidi, a centre-left councillor and delegate for the rebuild project. Daniela Sibilla, who allegedly collaborated with Tancredi, and Abruzzo businessman Pasqualino Macera were also arrested, La Repubblica said. 

L'Aquila's deputy mayor, Roberto Riga, is among four others being investigated.  Riga is alleged to have been given €10,000 in a gift basket with a bottle of Brandy in return for the promise of a contract. Riga is reported to have said that the probe has come as "a bolt out of the blue".

The extent of the forgery reached an estimated €500,000 as company bosses allegedly paid public officials to give them contracts for work, mainly related to installing safety measures in buildings, between September 2009 and July 2011.

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