Sting has said he is “saddened and distressed” following reports that illegal migrants were discovered working on his luxury Italian estate.
Used to grow olive trees, grapes and other fruit, the singer’s 350-hectare (865-acre) wine-producing estate is reportedly part of a police investigation into illegal migrant labour.
Labourers who had not been granted the right to settle in Italy were said to have been recruited by gangmasters who used a company to contract them out to Tuscan estates, including Sting’s, it was claimed.
Italian prosecutors believe the estates did not know the labourers supplied were illegal, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The former Police frontman said he was “saddened and distressed to learn that an independent company leasing some of our fields may have been involved in questionable labour practices.
“I fully expect that Italian law will take its course and bring the matter to court,” said Sting. “While this company has no affiliation with our own operation, perhaps, as my name has appeared in the headline in the Italian papers, it will shine a necessary spotlight on unacceptable labour practices in the wine industry.”
About 30-40 labourers whose asylum applications had not been processed were employed on the rock star’s estate last year, Antonio Sangermano, the prosecutor leading the investigation, told the Telegraph.
It was reported that 11 people were being investigated over a number of charges, including commercial fraud, profiting from illegal labour and issuing false financial records.
Sangermano said: “Sting had no knowledge of this and we believe he was not even in Italy at the time. He is not part of our inquiry. But we are looking into exactly who employed these workers on the estate.”
Sting, 65, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, has owned the estate, outside the town of Figline Valdarno near Florence, for more than 16 years. A farm shop sells everything made or grown on the estate, including oil from hand-picked olives, vegetables, fruit, honey and local salami.
One of his red wines, called Sister Moon after one of his songs, was identified as one of the top 100 Italian wines earlier this year.