Italian prosecutors accuse top carrier in spy case

Italian prosecutors accused two of the country's top firms, Telecom Italia and its former leading shareholder Pirelli, of lack of oversight in connection with a huge spying scandal, an AFP report said.

The AFP report said some 34 suspects have been targeted by Milan prosecutors following inquiries launched two years ago into an extensive wire-tapping system, according to the ANSA news agency.

They include a former head of security at the two firms, Giuliano Tavaroli, but not former Telecom Italia boss Marco Tronchetti Porvera, as the prosecutor did not believe there was evidence that he knew about the spying, the report said.

The phone-tapping scandal broke in 2006 after investigators uncovered a vast private spy network at the heart of Telecom Italia.

More than 20 people have been implicated in the affair, in which hundreds of files, including those relating to top magistrates, industrialists, politicians and even footballers and referees were compiled through phone taps.

Those arrested, including 11 members of the financial police and the paramilitary Carabinieri police force, have been accused of corruption and illegally obtaining bank and phone records, the AFP report further said.

According to ANSA, the two companies were informed of the investigation's findings late Friday after the closure of the stock exchange.

The firms could face a maximum fine of €1.5 million (US$2.4 million), according to La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera.

Pirelli, in a statement on Saturday evening, confirmed having received notification.

Telecom Italia put out a similar statement confirming the accusation.