Italian police search shipbuilding companies linked to Fincantieri
Adds comment from Fincantieri, detail
PADUA, Italy, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Italian police searched offices of several companies working for state-owned shipbuilder Fincantieri FCT.MI, in an investigation into suspected corruption and worker exploitation, the prosecutor's office in Venice said on Wednesday.
The prosecutor said 34 people were under investigation for alleged "systematic exploitation" of foreign workers - mainly from Bangladesh and Albania - in shipyards in the port city of Marghera, close to Venice, where companies perform subcontracted work on cruise ships built by Fincantieri.
The searches involved 19 different companies from seven Italian regions and 12 Fincantieri managers, the statement said, without specifying whether the executives were under investigation.
Fincantieri pledged to take immediate action if any illegal conduct by Fincantieri employees were to be found.
"Fincantieri is ensuring full cooperation with investigators and hopes that it will be shown that its employees have no involvement," the group said in a statement.
According to the prosecutors' office, workers were being paid well under what they should have been earning under national award terms with the discrepancy concealed by including fake salary items on their pay slips or by recording a lower number of hours worked than was actually the case.
The office said it was also investigating whether subcontracting firms had paid off Fincantieri managers to be able to cheat the group over the amount of time taken to complete work they were contracted to perform.
(Reporting by Riccardo Bastianello, additional reporting by Giulia Segreti in Rome; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
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