March 29, 2019 / 4:08 PM / a month ago

Italian minister criticizes Atlantia executives for bonuses after bridge disaster

FILE PHOTO: A logo of the Atlantia Group is seen outside their headquarters in Rome, Italy August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s transport minister on Friday criticized executives at infrastructure group Atlantia for taking big bonuses last year despite the collapse of a bridge operated by a unit of the group that killed 43 people.

According to a report on wages published by the group, Atlantia Chief Executive Giovanni Castellucci received 3.7 million euros ($4.15 million) in bonuses and incentives last year.

Group Chairman Fabio Cerchiai received 560,000 euros in variable non-equity premiums, the report said.

Both Castellucci and Cerchiai also served as CEO and chairman respectively of Atlantia’s motorway unit Autostrade per l’Italia until the beginning of this year.

Last August, a section of the 50-year-old Morandi bridge managed by Autostrade in the northern city of Genoa collapsed, sending dozens of cars plunging to the ground.

“No comment is needed in front of millionaire bonuses paid out after the tragedy in Genoa. We need a revolution of the concession system. This is what we are doing,” Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli wrote on Twitter.

The government has accused Autostrade of serious oversights in its maintenance of the doomed bridge and has said it intends to revoke its Italian motorway concession. Autostrade has denied wrongdoing, saying regular, state-supervised inspections had indicated the ageing bridge was safe.

Atlantia and several employees including its top executives are under judicial investigation, along with the transport ministry and several officials, over the bridge collapse.

Reporting by Francesca Landini; editing by David Evans

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