DELLA VALLE’S COURT DAY: Tod’s chief executive Diego Della Valle appeared in a Tuscan court on Wednesday with Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, former chairman of Ferrari and his business partner in Italy’s privately operated Italo railway.
The two were among a number of witnesses called to testify about the so-called “Viareggio Disaster,” a horrific 2009 incident in the province of Lucca in which a publicly-operated freight train carrying multiple tanks of liquid petroleum gas derailed on approaching the Viareggio station, causing an explosion that killed 32 people who happened to be in the streets or in their homes at the time.
Prosecutors asked Della Valle and Montezemolo about their knowledge of Mauro Moretti, the former ceo of the state-run Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane SpA and current ceo and general manager of industrial powerhouse Finmeccanica, who is among those accused of railway disaster, reckless homicide and reckless arson.
According to local press reports, the luxury executives did not mince words, with Montezemolo widely quoted as saying “at the Ferrovie, a single leaf wouldn’t move without Moretti’s personal approval.”
Moretti and Della Valle have openly clashed in the past: as reported last March, the Tod’s executive characterized his railway rival as a political hack with a bloated salary. “If Moretti had the courage and the dignity to leave, he would find millions of Italians ready to show him the door: they’re the travelers forced to travel with so many inconveniences on the Italian rail system, forced to put up with unjustified delays, to travel on old trains, to use decrepit and rather unsafe train stations, with no respect for their dignity,” Della Valle said at the time.
Back in November 2013 Della Valle had already been summoned to make a police statement regarding Moretti, whom he then described as “competitive,” “arrogant,” “ready to go to battle with whoever got in his way,” and a schmoozer who “managed the [state railway] as though it were a personal belonging of his, and not a good that belongs to the country,” according to local reports.