Italian defence firm CEO held over India bribe charges
Rome: In yet another pointer to the practice of giving kickbacks by foreign defence firms to secure big-value military deals with India, a top ranking official of an Italian defence giant Finmeccanica has been arrested over corruption allegations.
The Italian media reported on Tuesday that Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of Finmeccanica, has been arrested by the Italian authorities for corruption and embezzlement in connection with a 4,000-crore helicopter deal with the Indian government.
Finmeccanica CEO was under scrutiny for past several months for his alleged wrong doings.
However, Orsi has categorically rejected all allegations of corruption levelled against him and denied any wrongdoing in the 2010 deal related to the sale of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters to India.
Though he has been arrested, he has not been charged by the Italian authorities yet in connection with the deal
Defence Ministry officials, who have been made aware about the Finmeccanica CEO’s arrest, say that no instance of financial irregularity has come to light in their investigation so far in connection with the deal.
Orsi’s arrest in Italy is also not likely to impact the deal for the dozen helicopters for use by VIPs including the Prime Minister.
Importantly, the first of the Finmeccanica choppers has recently arrived in India.
The state-controlled Finemccanica group has been under scrutiny for the past three years over charges that it allegedly paid huge bribes in different countries and at home.
The company has also categorically dismissed the charges.
In a statement issued in February, Finmeccanica said, "AgustaWestland is not involved in any irregularity concerning the supply of helicopters in India. No notice related to the investigations has been served."