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CRIME

Italian hospital employee accused of skipping work for 15 years

A hospital worker described as the “king of absentees” by Italian media is being investigated after allegedly skipping work for 15 years - but receiving his full salary.

Italian hospital employee accused of skipping work for 15 years
Italian police said the man was caught out by an investigation codenamed 'Operation Part Time'. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The man, employed at the Ciaccio hospital in the southern city of Catanzaro, Calabria, is accused of not turning up for work since 2005.

Now aged 67, he is being investigated for fraud, extortion and abuse of office, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

He was reportedly paid €538,000 (£464,000) in total over the years he is thought not to have been working.

READ ALSO: Italian grandma tips off police to bring down mafia clan

Six managers at the hospital are also being investigated in connection with the alleged absenteeism.

The man was caught out by a police investigation, codenamed ‘Operation Part Time’, into absenteeism and suspected fraud in the Italian public sector 

He was reportedly assigned to the job in 2005, at which point he is alleged to have stopped going in.

He is also accused of threatening the hospital director to stop her from reporting his absenteeism.

After that manager retired, neither her successor nor human resources ever noticed his absence, police said.

In 2016 the Italian government tightened a law aimed at stopping absenteeism, after police uncovered a string of cases of public sector workers pocketing pay without turning up for work.

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

READ ALSO

Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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