Gunmen shoot CEO of Italian nuclear engineering firm | News | DW | 07.05.2012
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Gunmen shoot CEO of Italian nuclear engineering firm

Unidentified gunmen have shot the CEO of Ansaldo Nuclear, an Italian nuclear engineering firm, reviving fears of politically-motivated violence amid the country's shrinking economy and biting austerity.

Gunmen shot and wounded the chief executive of an Italian nuclear engineering company as he left his home in Genoa on Monday, bringing back memories of political violence prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s.

Roberto Adinolfi, 59-year-old CEO of Ansaldo Nuclear, was shot in the leg by a gunman wearing a helmet, who then fled the scene on a motor scooter driven by another person. Adinolfi reportedly suffered from a fractured knee and underwent surgery, but was in good condition.

Genoa's head prosecutor, Michele Di Lecce, told reporters that his office was considering all potential motives, including domestic terrorism. He added that no person or group has claimed responsibility.

Roberto Adinolfi

Adinolfi has been CEO of Ansaldo Nuclear since 2007

Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said investigators had ruled out "a link to his personal life."

Fears of return to violent decades

The shooting bore resemblance to attacks by the left-wing guerrilla group the Red Brigades, which carried out murders and kidnappings in the 1970s and 1980s.

Reactions from politicians were universally condemnatory, largely blaming a heated political climate in Italy in the midst of recession and austerity. Angelino Alfano, who served as justice minister under former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, called the shooting "the very serious symptom of a climate of social tension."

Ansaldo Nuclear, a subsidiary of state-controlled defense conglomerate Finmeccanica, specializes in building third-generation nuclear plants and has done projects in China, the Czech Republic and Romania. Adinolfi became CEO in 2007.

Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi said if a link to political terrorism is confirmed, the attack would represent "an alarm bell not to be underestimated."

"An attack against the leadership of a highly technological company... is an insidious rejection of the need for modernization," he said.

acb/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)