By Mauro Orru
-- Italian authorities are conducting a probe linked to the deadly Genoa bridge collapse
-- Giovanni Castellucci, former CEO of Atlantia and Autostrade per l'Italia, is under house arrest
-- Precautionary measures are in place for six people, including former top managers and current managers of Autostrade per l'Italia
Giovanni Castellucci, former chief executive of Atlantia SpA's highway unit Autostrade per l'Italia SpA, has been placed under house arrest amid a probe stemming from a wider investigation into the 2018 collapse of a bridge in Genoa, which killed 43 people, a spokesman for Italy's financial police told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday.
The Italian authorities are investigating former top managers and current managers of Autostrade per l'Italia, which managed the Morandi bridge that collapsed in August 2018.
Italy's financial police, known as Guardia di Finanza, said Wednesday that precautionary measures are in place for six people. Three of those people are now under house arrest, including Mr. Castellucci, who was also the CEO of Atlantia at the time of the accident.
A lawyer for Mr. Castellucci didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The probe found that a number of former and current executives were aware of construction defects related to sound-absorbing barriers in Autostrade per l'Italia's road network, including the risk of collapse in particularly windy conditions.
Executives also opted for temporary measures instead of conducting replacement works to restore safety on the network, amounting to fraud against the state, Italy's Guardia di Finanza said.
Autostrade per l'Italia said Wednesday that it became aware of the investigation affecting sound-absorbing barriers on about 60 kilometers of its network in December 2019.
The company said the barriers were deemed safe after interventions between the end of 2019 and January 2020, and that there is a plan to replace them from the second half of 2021.
Two employees affected by the Italian authorities' precautionary measures have been suspended from duty, Autostrade per l'Italia said.
-Pietro Lombardi contributed to this article.
Write to Mauro Orru at firstname.lastname@example.org; @MauroOrru94
(END) Dow Jones Newswires