Efforts to save the beleaguered Mondomarine shipyard took a turn for the worse yesterday when the Italian fiscal police (Guardia di Finanza) began searches of the company’s offices in Savona, Pisa and Milan. The operation, carried out by proxy of the Public Prosecutor’s office, led to the seizure of documents relating to the company’s financial dealings.
The searches were instigated by complaints from Mondomarine customers and contractors who claim to have been scammed and the fiscal authorities are investigating possible fraud, false accounting and credit abuses by presenting invoices for non-existent transactions. The Mondomarine shareholders, fearing wrong doing, had entrusted an accounting survey to Price Waterhouse Coopers and the results were delivered to the judiciary for verification.
Earlier this month, the Palumbo Shipping Group submitted a binding agreement to the bankruptcy court to rent the Mondomarine premises for six months in the first step of a judicial liquidation and a commitment to provide business continuity – a fundamental preliminary phase for the renewal of the concession of the state-owned property for the next four years. Under the agreement, the existing Mondomarine shareholders would undertake to cover the previous costs of the concession relating to 2017 and for the next two years. The current investigation casts serious doubt on the renewed optimism that followed this apparent progress in negotiations.
Credit: photo by Justin Ratcliffe