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Italy suspends Total Italia field development

Italian authorities have suspended Total Italia's licence to develop its Gorgoglione field in the southern region of Basilicata, police said on Monday, the latest development in an ongoing corruption probe.

A statement from the police said that the suspension of the license to develop liquid and gas hydrocarbons at the field, authorized by a judge, would last for one year.

A spokesman for Total Italia said the company had no immediate comment but could make a statement later on Monday.

In December, police arrested Lionel Levha, chief executive officer of Total Italia exploration and production, as part of the inquiry.

Total Italia said at the time Levha and three other managers were being investigated for possible irregularities in the “Tempa Rossa” project in the Basilicata region.

In a December statement rejecting any involvement in the subject of the investigation, Total Italia said it expressed full confidence in its managers and was cooperating fully with the authorities.

On Monday, the company spokesman said Levha and two others are under house arrest, adding Levha is no longer CEO of exploration and production.

In Italy, arrests do not always lead to requests for formal charges against potential suspects. (Reuters)