Italy: Italian fixers accused of skimming off £60m in bribes from Chinese companies in face mask deal

Italian middlemen allegedly pocketed €70 million (£60 million) in illicit “commissions” from Chinese companies in return for helping to negotiate contracts for Italy to buy €1.25 billion worth of face masks.

Eight people are under investigation for the allegedly corrupt deal, which took place last spring, just as Italy was hit by the first wave of the pandemic.

Italian police seized €70 million worth of their assets, from bank accounts and property to designer watches worth €10,000 each and Tiffany’s necklace valued at €14,000.

The seizures also included a yacht worth €770,000 and a Harley Davidson motorcycle, which prosecutors believe were bought with the proceeds of the deals.

Finance police suspect the group of skimming millions of euros off contracts for the procurement of more than 800 million masks from three Chinese consortiums.

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