Italy is embroiled in a blame game that will ultimately discourage many international investors, an economist told CNBC Friday.
A freeway bridge collapsed on Tuesday, killing at least 39 people, in the city of Genoa. In the aftermath, Rome came under special scrutiny by international investors after deciding to immediately revoke the road management concession from Autostrade — a company that is responsible for 3,000 kilometers of toll roads in Italy — without waiting for the conclusion of the ongoing investigations. Shares of its mother company Atlantia fell by as much as 23 percent on Thursday morning.
"The responsibilities still have to be determined by the judiciary, (but) the most striking thing of this story is mostly the initial reaction of the government after the disaster," Davide Oneglia, economist at TS Lombard, said.
"The fact they have immediately taken Atlantia and investor as a scapegoat, or they are trying to bring in the European Commission, which is their usual target, might end up in the long run undermining the confidence of investors on Italian institutions," Oneglia told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe."
"If this proceeds, it has long lasting effects on investor sentiment," he said.
Meanwhile, ratings agency Moody's has said that the Italian bridge collapse heightens political pressures and regulatory risks for Atlantia and Autostrade. The agency warns that while the immediate negative financial impact of road closure in terms of revenue loss is likely manageable for Autostrade, the political ramifications of this incident could prove to be more problematic for both the companies.
The country's political parties have apportioned blame for the disaster to, variously, previous governments, the European Union (EU), the road management company and even the mafia. Even though, many analysts have pointed out that, for example, one of the coalition partners — the leftist Five Star Movement — ignored warnings back in 2013 that the collapsed bridge was in danger.