The Italian police investigation into the alleged misappropriation of up to 11 million Euro from the accounts of Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport has apparently taken a significant step forward, with Laura Bertinotti, the director of administration and accounting, now formally under investigation by police, according to a recent report in the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Corriere della Sera, like RCS Sport, is owned by the RCS Media Group and the expert legal journalist Luigi Ferrarella suggested in his story that the alleged fraudulent activity was carried out included mysterious bank transfers, false payments and the approval of payments using faking signatures of senior management. His story suggests more than one person within RCS Media Group had to be involved to overcome internal accounting policy and checks.
The report also claims that two police witnesses have revealed that senior accountants at RCS were first told of suspicions of fraud as far back as April 2012 when alerted by the company's bank.
RCS Media Group refused to comment on the report when contacted by Cyclingnews.
Laura Bertinotti worked for RCS Sport since 2006 but has since been fired by the company. She has denied any wrongdoing to a local newspaper in her home town of Arona.
Former CEO Giacomo Catano and Managing Director Michele Acquarone have been fired by RCS Sport for failing to prevent the fraud but neither have been placed under investigation. The head of External Relations and Media Rights Matteo Pastore remains suspended but his involvement in the internal and police investigation has not been revealed.
Acquarone has publicly denied being involved in the alleged misappropriation and has begun legal action against RCS Sport to defend his name.
Before the holidays, RCS Sport appointed Paolo Bellino as the new General Manager of the company