The charges include making fraudulent bankruptcy filings, committing tax crimes and breaking anti-Mafia laws. Antonio Battista, Privilege Yard's financial director, was also charged as an accomplice.

Privilege One

Privilege One in build. Photo privilegeyard.com

Mario La Via, former CEO of Privilege Yard, has been arrested as part of an investigation into the superyacht brand’s 2015 bankruptcy.

According to the La Nazione newspeper, the charges include making fraudulent bankruptcy filings, committing tax crimes and breaking anti-Mafia laws. Antonio Battista, the company’s financial director, was also charged as an accomplice.

The Italian newpaper said the operation resulted in the seizure of three Rome-based companies with real estate portfolios valued at about €25m.

The charges include fraud that were perpetrated during the bankruptcy, including the use of credit by La Via and Battista for purchasing a Maserati and Ferrari, and hiding the distressed state of the company from four banks that approved loans for €100m to build a 126m yacht called Privilege One.

When one of its banks ran into financial difficulties in 2012 and halted funding, construction on the yacht stopped. The company then began to unravel, eventually filing for bankruptcy in 2015 and leaving about €210 in creditor debt.

The superyacht is now rusting in the abandoned Privilege shipyard at Civitavecchia.

Privilege Yard

Privilege Yard shipyard in in Italy. Photo privilegeyard.com

In the charges, Prosecutors also accused the former yacht executives of paying the rent of the Civitavecchia port authority president and renovating La Via’s home to the tune of about €4m. Prosecutors also noted large amounts of capital moved between tax havens by Mario La Via.

The paper also reported that the company made donations of about €700,000 to different religious charities at the direction of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State at the time.

The Arezzo bank, one of four institutions that loaned money for the superyacht project, has declared a €30m loss from the Privilege bankruptcy.

Local tax authorities have attempted to auction the abandoned shipyard and yacht, twice this summer, to recoup money. However, no buyers came forward.

SB would like to clarify that Privilege Yard SpA is in no way related to French catamaran builder Privilege Marine, whose latest model in the Privilege 5 series is coincidentally called Privileged One.

In fact, Privilege Marine was recently honoured with the Prix Etienne Marcel 2016 Award, a national sign of recognition for responsible entrepreneurship.