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Royalton to be evicted from Privilege Yard

Privilege Yard’s tumultuous history takes another turn with the eviction of Royalton Investment Holding…

In 2018, Royalton Investment Holding was awarded the auction of Cantiere Navale Privilege Yard for the reduced price of €6,016,000 through an Italian subsidiary, Konig srl. Yesterday it was announced that the local Port State Authority has started the procedure for forfeiture of the state concession awarded to Konig srl following repeated failures to meet the requirements of the concession as spelt out within the provisions of the facility’s economic and financial plan.

The procedure for the forfeiture of the facility is only the most recent chapter in the yard’s turbulent history. In 2015, Privilege Yard, which encompasses 12 hectares of land granted by the Port of Civitavecchia, Italy, filed for bankruptcy and the production of its 127m motoryacht, Project One, ground to a halt. It was argued at the time that the yard had been created as a vehicle for the illegal pooling of funds gathered from a variety of banks and the subsequent distribution of these funds to various senior individuals at the yard.

In August 2016, Mario La Via, CEO of Privilege Yard, and Antonio Baptist, Privilege’s only board member, were placed under house arrest by the public prosecutor of Civitavecchia pending charges relating to fraudulent bankruptcy, a falsified balance sheet, tax crimes and the contravention of anti-mafia legislation. Those reported at the time as suspected beneficiaries included Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican secretary of state, Mari Baldassarri, a former member of the Italian parliament and Pasqualino, president of the Civitavecchia Port Authority.

Civonline reports that Pino Musolino, president of the local Port State Control, commented: We acknowledge that Konig’s obligations have not been respected. It is time to make concrete decisions in the public interest.”

Together with the general secretary Paolo Risso, Musolino inspected the facility to confirm that the yard was failing in its duty to meet the requirements of the economic and financial plan spelt out in the concession, which was the proviso under which Konig was allowed to take over the facility and its concession.

“Following today’s access, we, unfortunately, had to take note of how the situation has not changed even after the formal start of the procedure for forfeiture on the concession, which was communicated on 13 October,” continues Musolino. “The time has come to make concrete decisions with regard to this matter. The areas and assets under concession are of the highest value and with enormous potential for economic development for various possible activities relating to logistics, as well as shipbuilding and it is not possible, nor acceptable, that these areas remain inactive and unproductive.

“Exactly because of its importance and relevance, given that we are talking about over 100,000sqm in the heart of the commercial port, I have followed the story with the utmost attention since my hiring. I have granted Konig, also in consideration of the COVID emergency, 10 months to give a concrete signal with respect to the commitments undertaken when the concession authorisation was issued. Now I believe that in the public interest, the Port State Authority that I represent has not only has the right but the duty to proceed to reacquire the facility and its assets in order to benefit from their great potential.”

There is speculation that Tankoa has shown interest in the facility, however, nothing has been confirmed by the yard.

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