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New Concordia probe 'to come to nothing', Costa lawyer says

Prosecutors to investigate alleged tampering and legal fraud

25 February, 15:06
New Concordia probe 'to come to nothing', Costa lawyer says (see related stories) (ANSA) - Grosseto, February 25 - A new probe into two Costa Cruises employees for allegedly tampering with the bridge and diesel generator room of the wrecked Concordia cruise liner was destined to be shelved, a lawyer acting for the cruise company said on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday prosecutors in the Tuscan coastal city of Grosseto announced they had placed the wrecked cruise liner's legal guardian, Franco Porcellacchia, who led the successful parbuckling operation to right the ship last September, and a Costa adviser, Camillo Casella, under investigation on suspicion of breaking seals, altering the scene and legal fraud in connection with an unauthorised visit allegedly made to the wreck on January 22. Prosecutors were also allegedly examining the position of a third person thought to have accompanied them on board. "The investigation will come to nothing," said Costa lawyer Marco De Luca, arguing that the alleged tampering had been aimed at securing the stricken ship ahead of a court-ordered inspection on January 23.

Earlier prosecutors had described it as a "serious incident".

Their investigation came after lawyers acting for the former captain Francesco Schettino said the bridge area had been altered after inspecting the ship on January 23.

"People have been working here," said lawyer Domenico Pepe of the bridge command center, where the course was set that led the Concordia to crash on rocks and kill 32 people off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012, with Schettino in command.

"The scene is no longer as it was, there's been a complete modification of the state of things", he added.

Meanwhile a panel of judges in Grosseto on Tuesday granted a request from Schettino to return to the wreck.

He is currently on trial for multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty during Italy's worst maritime disaster since World War Two.