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Supercar boss arrested in tax probe
The chairman of Italian supercar manufacturer De Tomaso, Gian Mario Rossignolo, has been arrested as part of an investigation to determine whether he and two other men misused €7.5 million (around £5.9 million) of government money in an unsuccessful turnaround plan.
Italian tax police detained Rossignolo and his alleged accomplices – De Tomaso’s head of human resources and a financial intermediary – following claims of abuse of public funds.
De Tomaso aimed to use the former Pininfarina factory on the outskirts of Turin, Itlay to produce new luxury 4x4s and sportscars, but the botched recovery of the iconic marque failed after De Tomaso filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
The company’s attempts to reignite production were aborted after Rossignolo was unsuccessful in securing financial backing.
The firm showed its Deauville concept car (pictured above) – a luxury four-door four-wheel drive vehicle – at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, however, the collapse of the brand’s revival means it is unlikely that the car will make production.
According to the Italian authorities, it is believed the carmaker’s managers may have used a false bank guarantee to receive government funds from the Piedmont region of Italy and the European Union, with some of the cash finding its way into the three suspects bank accounts.
The funding was earmarked to retrain 1,000 staff in January this year – although workers have been laid-off since 2010 – as well as refitting the disused factory.
De Tomaso was asked to return €5 million in May granted to it by the Piedmont administration. The company was unable to do so, prompting the investigation.
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