Ex-owners of polluting Italian steel plant convicted

Two former owners of a troubled steel plant in southern Italy have been convicted of toxic pollution that prosecutors say cost hundreds of lives and sentenced to more than two decades in prison each

They were sentenced to 22 years and 20 years, respectively.

Two other managers were also found guilty in the case and sentenced to more than two decades, among the 24 former managers convicted in the five-year trial.

The former governor of Puglia, Nichi Vendola, was convicted of aggravated bribery, accused by prosecutors of having put undue pressure on an environmental official to soften his position on the toxic emissions. That official, Giorgio Assennato, meanwhile, was found guilty of not reporting Vedola’s pressure, and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Assennato has denied being pressured by Vendola, a left-wing politician who also denied wrongdoing and said the verdict had “trampled the truth.” Vendola has vowed to appeal.

Verdicts aren’t considered final in Italy until two levels of appeal are exhausted.

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