Finmeccanica hopeful of reopening dialogue with Defence Ministry

With an Italian court acquitting its two former bosses of corruption charges, defence firm Finmeccanica on Friday said they can reopen dialogue with the Indian Defence Ministry, which had scrapped its Rs 3,600 crore contract for supplying 12 VVIP helicopters.

PTI| Updated: Oct 10, 2014, 15:42 PM IST

New Delhi: With an Italian court acquitting its two former bosses of corruption charges, defence firm Finmeccanica on Friday said they can reopen dialogue with the Indian Defence Ministry, which had scrapped its Rs 3,600 crore contract for supplying 12 VVIP helicopters.

"The verdict (of Italian court) allows us to reopen dialogue with Indian Defence Ministry which was interrupted due to investigations into supply of choppers to India," Finmeccannica CEO Mauro Moretti said in a statement.

He claimed that the verdict has "once and for all" released his firm from the damage incurred due to the charges in the last few years and hoped that it will allow it to get the reputation it deserves.

The firm, which is facing CBI probe in the chopper scam, claimed that a decree filed in an Italian court on July 25 also acknowledged that it has not indulged in any wrongdoing in the whole episode.

Moretti also expressed happiness that the position of two former bosses of Finmecannica - Guiseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini - has also improved after the verdict.

Orsi and ex-AgustaWestland head Bruno Spagnolini were yesterday acquitted of corruption charges in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal with India but were sentenced to two-year jail term on lesser charges of falsification of invoices.

On January 1, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW101 VVIP choppers to the Air Force for alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 360 crore by it for securing the deal.

The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are still probing the case in India where former IAF chief SP Tyagi and his cousins are alleged to be the beneficiaries.

The ED has booked Tyagi, his family members, European nationals Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, four firms -- Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland and Chandigarh- based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia, few other firms and unknown persons in CBI's criminal complaint.

In view of the corruption charges, India has also barred Finmeccanica and its group companies from participating in the Defence Ministry tenders.