De Tomaso chairman arrested in fraud probe
The chairman of Italian sports car maker De Tomaso, Gian Mario Rossignolo, and two other managers have been arrested during a probe into the misuse of $9.2 million of public funds, Italy's tax authorities reported last week.
The funds were part of a failed plan to revive production of the brand at the De Tomaso Automobili plant, a former Pininfarina factory near Turin.
Rossignolo, a former Fiat executive, bought the company in November 2009. De Tomaso filed for bankruptcy in 2004, a year after the death of its founder.
In 2011, Rossignolo unveiled the SLS sedan at the Geneva auto show and announced plans to build as many as 8,000 cars a year. But this year Rossignolo filed for bankruptcy after failing to find adequate financial backing.
Rossignolo's and the company's lawyers were not immediately available for comment.
The Turin prosecutors office opened a probe a few months ago.
Police said in a statement that investigators believe that the managers may have used a false bank guarantee to receive funds from Italy's Piedmont region and from the European Union, and that some of the money may have ended up in the three men's bank accounts.
During a 22-year career with Fiat Group, Rossignolo was a top marketing executive at the company and CEO of Fiat's Lancia brand from 1977 to 1979.
The De Tomaso brand was founded in 1959 by Argentine race car driver Alejandro De Tomaso and became an iconic sports car marque in the 1960s and 1970s.
-- Automotive News Europe, Reuters