Italy defence firm CEO held on graft charge

File photo of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi.

File photo of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi.

Italian police on Tuesday arrested the chief executive of Italy’s largest defence and aerospace group as part of an investigation into alleged international corruption.

Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi is alleged to have paid $670 million in bribes for the sale of 12 helicopters to the government of India. Prosecutors in the Busto Arsizio north of Milan ordered a search of Mr. Orsi’s home, as well as the headquarters of Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland helicopter division.

Authorities also ordered the house arrest of AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini.

Finmeccanica, which is 30-per cent government owned and once considered a jewel among Italian companies, said in a statement that the company will continue operating as usual and expressed support for the executives. The statement called the measures against Mr. Orsi and Mr. Spagnolini “precautionary.”

Mr. Orsi has repeatedly denied paying any bribes.

The company and its executives have been the target of a wide-ranging investigation into alleged corruption in the awarding of international contracts. Mr. Orsi replaced the former CEO who resigned under government pressure.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2022 7:35:51 pm |