August 22, 2018 / 6:57 PM / 3 months ago

Italy's Di Maio says Ilva tender may be illegitimate, citing state lawyer

The ILVA steel plant is seen next to the Tamburi district, in Taranto, southern Italy April 27, 2018. Picture taken April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile - RC15C944A910

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Industry Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Wednesday the tender to sell the Ilva steel plant to industry giant ArcelorMittal may have been illegitimate, citing an opinion by the state lawyers.

ArcelorMittal won a tender to buy Ilva in 2017 and had been due to take over the ailing firm in July, but Italy’s new anti-establishment government has delayed the process, putting the sale on hold until Sept. 15.

Di Maio, who is also deputy prime minister, requested the opinion from the state lawyers after Italy’s anti-corruption authority (ANAC) had said the way the tender was conducted seemed to present some possible irregularities.

Di Maio said in a statement that the lawyers had confirmed the problems posed by ANAC and raised “new fundamental elements that lead to the suspicion that the (tender) was illegitimate.”

He did not publish the lawyers’ opinion, but said he would hold a news conference on the matter at 11:30 (09:30 GMT) on Thursday.

Reporting By Gavin Jones

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