12/15/2011Italy: Seven Arrested in Red Light Camera Corruption Scandal
Red light camera company, police chiefs and consultants arrested in corruption investigation in Italy.
Italy's widespread red light camera corruption investigation expanded once again yesterday with the arrest of seven officials in towns about an hour outside Rome. As part of Operation Watchful Eye, Italy's financial police, the Guardia di Finanza, charged the police commanders in the towns of Frosinone and Isola del Liri with taking bribes from a private traffic camera firm.
Frosinone's top cop, Francesco R. Delvino, 49, and Paolo Lacava, top safety advisor for Isola del Liri, were accused of taking cash and other compensation in return for awarding contracts to a shell company. Achille Francesco Benedetti, a consultant, recommended that Frosinone buy the product of FGS Srl, owned by Giuseppe Federici, in a CCTV contract that was signed on March 14. A test report claimed that the cameras were tested and fully functional, but only a few of the FGS cameras were actually installed.
Others arrested in the scandal include Bruno Di Palma, Isola del Liri's police commander; Marco Ilarietti, manager of Security Trust; and Vincenza Sanita, contract administrator. Four individuals remain under house arrest, three are in jail. Local police also seized assets worth 500,000 euros (US $650,000) thought to be the proceeds of crime. This includes Delvino's home computer and Citroen C6. Lacava's Audi A3 and A6 were also confiscated. Records were seized at a number of locations throughout the area.
Investigations into Italian speed camera fraud have been in the works for years. In March, the Guardia di Finanza announced five indictments in Brescia. In August 2009, speed cameras were shrouded in black plastic as up to 200 officials faced charges in Caserta. In September, a judge ruled that a group of 15 mayors, cops, speed camera company employees should stand trial on fraud charges.