Italy's top court throws out bid to close ILVA steel plant

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 09, 2013 2:47 PM
Italy's top court throws out bid to close ILVA steel plant

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's top court said on Tuesday that a government law to save the crisis-hit ILVA steel plant does not flout the constitution and so production at the factory can continue.

The constitutional court rejected an appeal by prosecutors in the southern city of Taranto, where the plant is based, who wanted to have output halted due to environmental concerns.

ILVA, Europe's largest steel plant, has embarked on a two-year clean-up operation after prosecutors charged that toxic emissions had caused abnormally high levels of cancer and respiratory illness in the region.

The so-called "Save ILVA law", aimed at allowing the plant to keep operating during the clean-up, was passed last year by Mario Monti's outgoing government.

The constitutional court said in a statement that the objections raised by the prosecutors were "partly groundless and partly inadmissible" for consideration by the court.

ILVA, owned by the private Riva group, has been under special administration since last July. It has a workforce of around 20,000 and is one of the biggest employers in a region with high joblessness and little industry.

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Judges last year ordered 1 billion euro ($1.31 billion) worth of steel and steel products to be seized as part of a corruption investigation which includes accusations that the company's management paid bribes to cover up evidence of environmental harm caused by the plant.

(Reporting By Gavin Jones; Editing by Michael Roddy)