Taranto, October 29 - Three former senior executives will continue to be held under house arrest in connection with the long-running environmental problems at the ILVA steel plant in southern Italy. Emilio Riva, his son Nicholas Riva - both former presidents of the ILVA plant in Taranto - and past director Luigi Capogrosso have been under house arrest since July 26, accused of contributing to environmental problems with the steel plant. Judges Monday rejected their bid to be released. Parts of the plant have been shut down during upgrades to make it less polluting and less toxic to the surrounding environment. ILVA has for months been at the heart of a major industrial and environmental dispute since a court in the port town of Taranto ordered the shutdown of its smelting facilities and mineral park in July, saying the steelworks was the source of an ongoing environmental disaster. The court accused ILVA of emitting toxic dust and other elements that threatened the health of nearby residents. The court-ordered partial shutdown sparked worker protests, strikes and a flurry of meetings between government and business leaders to find a way to save the plant, which is considered crucial for Italian industry and an important source of employment in Italy's underdeveloped south.
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di Giovanni Pastore