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CRIME

Italian police investigate eight for profiting from government PPE contracts

Italian police are investigating eight people suspected of skimming millions of euros off government contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE).

Italian police investigate eight for profiting from government PPE contracts
Photo: AFP

The contracts, signed by the government's coronavirus crisis commissioner Domenico Arcuri with three Chinese consortiums, were for the supply of more than 800 million face masks for 1.25 billion euros ($1.5 billion).

According to Italy's Guardia di Finanza, the financial police, a group of middlemen pocketed illegal commissions worth “tens of millions of euros”, paid by the Chinese side to make the deals happen.
 
The unnamed suspects are accused of influence peddling, trading in stolen goods and money laundering.
 
Police seized 70 million euros' worth of assets as part of the investigation, including real estate, financial and insurance holdings, company shares, and luxury items including jewellery, cars, motorbikes and a yacht.
 
The commissioner's office “does not appear interested in establishing its own relationship with Chinese suppliers … preferring to rely on improvised freelancers eager to speculate on the epidemic,” prosecutors wrote in the seizure notice, according to Italian media reports.
 
Arcuri's office said it had been the victim of the alleged scam and was considering legal action for compensation.

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CRIME

Femicide increases in Italy, official data shows

Murders of women in Italy increased by nearly 16 percent over the past year, interior ministry data showed Monday, with nearly two-thirds of crimes committed by a partner or ex-partner.

Femicide increases in Italy, official data shows

In the period from August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022, 125 women in Italy were killed versus 108 in the year-earlier period, according to the annual report by the interior ministry.

Of that number, the vast majority of murders — 108 — were committed within the family sphere or an emotional context, while 68 murders, or 63 percent of the total, were committed by the victim’s partner or ex-partner, data showed.

There were a total of 319 murders in Italy in the period.

The numbers show that, on average, a woman is killed every three days in Italy.

According to a November report by the European Institute for Gender Equality, Italy came in ninth out of 15 EU member states for the number of murders of women by intimate partners, based on 2018 data.

It came in tenth when looking at homicide committed by family members and relatives.

Femicide commonly refers to the killing of a girl or woman by a partner or family member.

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