The Italian government, Mario Draghi, has opened an investigation into the sale of a stake in a high-tech drone manufacturer designated for the military to two Chinese state-owned companies three years ago, Reuters reported.
The agency quoted an informed source, who declined to be named, as saying that Rome wanted to check whether the government had received notification of the sale of a controlling stake of 75% in Albi Aviation, which is based in northern Italy, under the so-called golden authority rule.
Lawyers for Alby Aviation said the company complied with all rules in selling the stake.
Rome has special vetting powers to stop unsolicited bids from non-EU applicants in strategic industries such as defense, energy and telecommunications.
This latest development shows that it is easy for changes in corporate ownership to go unchecked at a time when pressure is mounting in the United States and Europe to monitor potential national security risks for Chinese companies.