BARI, Italy Italy's tax police have seized assets worth 8.1 billion euros belonging to the Riva family, owners of the Italian steel group ILVA, in connection with allegations of environmental crimes, investigative sources said on Friday.
The order to seize the assets was issued by a judge in the southern city of Taranto acting on allegations of criminal association to commit environmental crimes, the sources said.
ILVA said in a statement that its executive board would meet on Saturday to discuss how to respond.
The seizures, in Milan and Taranto, will have no impact on production at ILVA's Taranto plant, which will continue to work normally, the sources said.
The Taranto steel plant, Europe's largest, has embarked on a two-year clean-up operation after prosecutors alleged that toxic emissions had caused abnormally high levels of cancer and respiratory illness in the region.
ILVA has been under special administration since last July. It provides work for about 20,000 people, making it one of the biggest employers in a region with high unemployment and little industry.
On Wednesday, judicial sources said Milan prosecutors were investigating the chairman of the Riva group, Emilio Riva, over allegations of tax evasion, and that police had seized 1.2 billion euros of cash from a tax haven.
(Reporting by Valentina Consiglio; Writing by Stephen Jewkes and Catherine Hornby; Editing by Kevin Liffey)