Investigators probing a deadly bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy, are awaiting the outcome of another case involving the same toll-road operator, which is majority-owned by Atlantia SpA (ATL.MI), according to a person familiar with the matter.
The operator, Autostrade per l'Italia SpA, managed a bridge on the A16 highway, which connects Italy's two coasts in the south. In 2013, a bus plunged 100 feet from the Acqualonga viaduct after hitting a guardrail that prosecutors allege was inadequately maintained by Autostrade. Forty people died, and the suspects are facing manslaughter charges.
Investigators probing the Genoa accident are looking to establish whether there were similar circumstances in the Acqualonga incident, according to the person familiar with the investigation. The bridge collapse on Aug. 14 left 43 people dead.
An Autostrade spokesman directed queries relating to this article to statements the company made Wednesday regarding the 2013 case. The company has said it is committed to finding the truth behind the bridge collapse and it is cooperating with law enforcement.
Autostrade, which manages about half of Italy's roughly 4,000 miles of highway, is under pressure, with politicians calling for its licenses to be revoked. The investigation has rippled through business and government alike. Atlantia's share price has lost about a third of its value since then.
Prosecutors in the city of Avellino, where the 2013 case is being tried, said Wednesday that they were seeking sentences of 10 years for Autostrade Chief Executive Giovanni Castellucci and 14 other suspects involved, 11 of whom are or were high-ranking employees of Autostrade. A verdict is expected in December.
Autostrade said Wednesday in a statement that the prosecution's requests in the Acqualonga trial aren't based on objective facts and described them as disconcerting.
The prosecution's case in the Acqualonga trial is that poor maintenance by Autostrade compounded technical problems on the bus. Had the guardrails and protective barriers been properly maintained, the prosecution said Wednesday, they would have withstood the impact of the bus.
If the suspects in the Acqualonga case are found guilty and maintenance was substandard, that would inform the Genoa inquiry, the person said.
Twenty-one people and two companies, Autostrade and Spea Engineering SRL, a subsidiary of Atlantia, are suspects in the Genoa case. Spea Engineering declined to comment on the investigation but said it worked to monitor bridges and viaducts nationwide in adherence with the law.
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