A report into relief and reconstruction efforts after the earthquake at L’Aquila in Italy concludes that EU funds were misused and partly diverted to companies with links to organised crime.
Drawn up for the European Parliament, the document also says work was poorly carried out. It strongly criticises the Italian authorities and accuses the European Commission of negligence and being an accomplice to fraud.
In the months following the quake in April 2009, the then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi highlighted the plight of L’Aquila’s residents.
The report says much of the replacement accommodation built since is faulty and dangerous, that poor quality material was used, and that some houses were more than two and a half times overpriced.
Despite early efforts to keep the Mafia out, several subcontractors were suspect and wanted criminals were found at the premises of one.
Nearly 500 million euros of EU solidarity funds went to L’Aquila. The report recommends that Italy pays the money back if it’s proved that it went into the wrong hands.
The earthquake killed 300 people and left thousands homeless. Today the medieval town centre remains uninhabitable.