ROME (Reuters) - Telecoms billionaire Silvio Scaglia spent the night in Italian police custody after flying in by private jet from the Caribbean to face charges in a money-laundering probe.
Scaglia, who founded Fastweb, Italy’s second biggest telecoms company, was led away by police after the jet from the Antilles islands touched down in Rome’s Ciampino airport just after midnight on Friday morning.
One of Italy’s richest men, Scaglia is among 56 people for whom arrest warrants were issued in a case where prosecutors allege more than 2 billion euros (1.8 billion pound) was laundered via fake international phone service purchases and sales from 2003-2006.
Scaglia, who was on a overseas business trip when his arrest warrant was issued, has denied any wrongdoing. Judicial sources said he would be questioned on Monday, though his lawyer Gildo Ursini had earlier said he would be questioned by Saturday.
“I’m completely convinced that my behaviour has been correct,” Scaglia said in a statement made earlier this week, adding that he was convinced he had cleared up the matter three years ago.
Fastweb and Sparkle, a unit of Telecom Italia, are both being investigated in the scandal that has sent shockwaves through Italy’s political and industrial circles, but they deny any wrongdoing and say they are the damaged parties.
Telecom Italia was forced to delay the approval of its 2009 results due to the probe, in which a centre-right senator also faces arrest. Telecom Italia shares were down 1.5 percent to 1.04 euros in afternoon trade.
Fastweb’s share price continued to tumble on Friday following a 9 percent fall on Thursday. It was down 2.5 percent to 13.46 euros in afternoon trade.
Italian police said on Friday they had seized a “treasure trove” of thousands of paintings, lithographs and sculptures in which some of the illicit gains from the racket were invested.
Reporting by Deepa Babington and Valentina Consiglio; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Rupert Winchester