Venice flood barrier arrests

By Sandy Guthrie09 June 2014

Allegations of corruption surrounding the construction of the Moses flood barrier in Venice, Italy, have led to the arrest of the Mayor of Venice and a reported 34 other officials and contractors.

It is being suggested that tens of millions of Euros were involved in bribes during the public tendering stage.

The Mayor, Giorgio Orsoni, has been placed under house arrest. He is a former president of Save Engineering – the Venice-based engineering consultancy responsible for upgrading and developing Marco Polo Airport in the city.

The €5 billion flood barrier project involves rows of nearly 80 gates that would be able to isolate the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea at high tides. It takes its name from the acronym for Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico (Experimental Electromechanical Module).

Following Orsoni’s arrest, Deputy Mayor Sandro Simionato has replaced him temporarily. Simionato allied himself with the Mayor and said he hoped the judiciary could resolve the situation as soon as possible. He said with four years of work on the project already undertaken and another year to go, there would be a continued commitment to Moses.

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