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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 971

Italian defence firm CEO held for bribing in India

From R. Vasudevan—Reporting from New Delhi
New Delhi, 13 February (Asiantribune.com):

Italian police arrested the chief executive of aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica on Tuesday for corruption and embezzlement in relation to alleged bribes given to the Indian Government, Italian media reported.

Giuseppe Orsi had been under investigation for months and had denied any wrongdoing in the deal for the sale of 12 Agusta Westland helicopters to India in 2010. The magistrate in the case also issued an order for the head of AgustaWestland, Bruno Spagnolini, to be put under house arrest.

Two suspected intermediaries in the bribes who reside in Switzerland have also been targeted with extradition requests, the reports said. The price of shares in Finmeccanica fell by slightly more 9.13 percent in morning trading on the Milan stock exchange to 4.236 euros. Finmeccanica is not the only Italian industrial giant under investigation.

Prosecutors last week announced they were looking at Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of energy major ENI, over allegations of bribes paid to Algerian officials to win contracts there. Italy's third largest bank,Banca Monte deiPaschidi Siena, has also been shaken by a series of investigations over mismanagement that has forced it to seek a public bailout.

Probe ordered

India ordered an inquiry into reports of alleged bribery of government officials by Finmeccanica after the Italian aerospace gaint’ s chief was said to have been arrested by Italian police. "A probe by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has been ordered and further details will be given soon," Indian Defence Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar told AFP.

Finmeccanica chief executive Giuseppe Orsi had been under investigation for months and had denied any wrongdoing in the deal for the sale of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters to India in 2010.

The magistrate in the case also issued an order for the head of AgustaWestland, Bruno Spagnolini, to be put under house arrest. The size of the helicopter deal was valued at $748 million last November in a statement given to the Indian parliament by the government. The delivery of the choppers was scheduled for between January and July of this year.

Two suspected intermediaries in the bribes who reside in Switzerland have also been targeted with extradition requests, the reports said. Separately, Finmeccanica issued an emailed statement from Rome saying that its operations "will continue as usual". It said it was issuing the statement "with reference to the precautionary measures issued today towards the chairman and CEO of Finmeccanica and the CEO of the controlled Company AgustaWestland". In addition, the company said it "expresses support" for Orsi and hoped "that clarity is established quickly, whilst reaffirming its confidence in the judges".

- Asian Tribune -

Giuseppe Orsi
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