1. ITV Report

Jersey assists in the return of over €1.3 billion to Italy

Photo: PA

Jersey’s Attorney General has helped prosecutors in Italy in connection with a complex financial criminal investigation.

The investigation into the affairs of Italian Steel magnate Mr Adriano Riva, his now deceased brother Emilio Riva and others, resulted in the return of over €1.3 billion to Italy.

Attorney General, Robert MacRae QC says the case proves Jersey’s "staunch commitment to fighting the most serious financial crime".

This exceptional case of close collaboration with the Italian authorities once again demonstrates Jersey’s staunch commitment to fighting the most serious financial crime.

– The Attorney General, Robert MacRae QC

The Italian investigation centred upon the sale of shares in the Italian company Ilva at below market value to companies under the control of Mr Riva and others.

This included the re-sale of such companies and placement of the sale proceeds in overseas trusts.

An extensive evidence gathering exercise took place in the Island involving the trustees of a number of Jersey trusts holding substantial assets.

Evidence gathered by the Attorney General was subsequently sent to Italy to assist the Italian prosecutors.

For many years the Riva family owned and ran the Ilva steelworks in Taranto, Puglia, southern Italy.

Ilva Steel was one of the largest privately owned steel plants in Europe.

In 2012, criminal charges were brought against senior executives of Ilva in connection with serious alleged environmental offences arising from operation of the plant.

Ilva was placed into special administration by decree of the Italian Government in 2012.

A separate criminal investigation against Mr Adriano Riva and others was subsequently opened in Milan.

This focused upon allegations of fraudulent bankruptcy and fraudulent transfer of securities.

A plea bargain agreed between Italian prosecutors and Adriano Riva in the context of this further investigation was endorsed by a judge in Milan on 24 May 2017.

Under the plea bargain, Mr Riva agreed to repatriate to Italy funds totalling just over €1.3 billion held by the Jersey trusts in accounts in the Island and in Zurich, Switzerland.

The funds returned to Italy will be invested in the Ilva steel plant.

Officials hope this will revitalize the economy of Taranto by safeguarding or creating thousands of jobs for local residents.

The money will also be used to address serious pollution issues.