Wd revoke ILVA tender says Di Maio

'State committed perfect crime' says industry minister

(ANSA) - Rome, August 23 - The government would revoke the tender that gave troubled steel group ILVA to Arcelor Mittal if that were possible, Industry Minister Luigi Di Maio said Thursday, while acknowledging that the competition "cannot be annulled".
    "If a company were to ask us to take part in the tender, and there were reasons of opportunity, we might revoke the tender," he said.
    "Mittal has always been in good faith," Di Maio added.
    "The State committed the perfect crime by creating a procedure full of flaws and illegalities", he said on an opinion from the State attorney-general's office. Di Maio has decided not to publish that opinion until the end of the tender process.
    But he stressed: "the competition is illegitimate but it cannot be annulled.
    "That's why it was a perfect crime," carried out with "an excess of power", Di Maio said.
    The minister added that a deal with the trade unions was in the public interest. Rinaldo Melucci, mayor of Taranto, where ILVA's largest and Europe' biggest steel plant is located, said there was "by now no limit to the...irrationality and contempt of Di Maio's statements". Di Maio, who is also labour minister and deputy premier, said earlier this month that he had asked the attorney general's office to give an opinion on whether the process via which Arcelor Mittal got the green light to take over ILVA and its troubled Taranto steel plant should be annulled.
    Di Maio has said the process is tainted by irregularities.
    Arcelor Mittal got the OK for a takeover of ILVA, which is in the hands of government-appointed administrators after being at the centre of environmental scandal linked to high cancer rates in the Taranto area, under the previous centre-left government.
    Di Maio said his letter to the attorney general's office requested "an opinion on the effective existence of reasons of public interest to legitimize an eventual annulment".
    "It will be up to the law to tell me what I have to do," Di Maio told La7 television.
    "Di Maio won't decide. It will be up to the attorney general's office to say whether the conditions are there to revoke the procedure.
    "Then a decision will be taken" Di Maio, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), said he was still not satisfied with Arcelor Mittal's plan to take over ILVA after calling for more guarantees for the environment and jobs.
    "It is clear that this jobs plan cannot satisfy our demands," said Di Maio, adding that Arcelor Mittal had not made "steps forward".
    "AM must show signs a life and tell us if it will move from the figures agreed with former (industry) minister (Carlo) Calenda and then perhaps we can start talking again".