An Italian court on Monday, May 31, sentenced Fabio and Nicola Riva to 22 and 20 years in jail respectively for the “environmental disaster” caused by the Taranto-based Ilva steelworks, once the largest steel producer in Europe, now known as Acciaierie d’Italia, a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Italian state-agency Invitalia. The Rivas are the former owners and directors of the plant, whose emissions have been linked to high cancer rates in the area. Wrapping up the trial that lasted five years, the court also handed prison terms to other former managers at Ilva, as well as to the former governor of the Puglia region, Nichi Vendola, who received a three-and-a-half-year sentence. More than 40 people were convicted of criminal association to cause an environmental disaster and poisoning of food substances, among other things.
The court also said the plants in the “hot area” that were seized in July 2012 must be confiscated, although this will only be executed once the appeals process is exhausted. “The confiscation of the hot area ordered today during the trial has no immediate effect on production. It will be effective only after the final judgment of the Supreme Court,” sources at the Taranto steel plant stated after the first-degree sentence in the trial for the alleged environmental disaster caused by the former Ilva during the years of management by Rivas. At the moment, Acciaierie d’Italia remains entitled to use the plants in question.