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Chopper scam: Two ex-bosses of Finmeccanica cleared of graft

AgustaWestland CEO Guiseppe Orsi

AgustaWestland CEO Guiseppe Orsi  

Former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and ex-AgustaWestland head Bruno Spagnolini were today acquitted of corruption charges by an Italian court 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.

“Former Finmeccannica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and ex-AgustaWestland head Bruno Spagnolini were acquitted of charges of international corruption in relation to alleged bribes paid to land a contract to sell 12 helicopters to the Indian government,” Italian news agency Ansa reported.

However, both Mr. Orsi and Mr. Spagnolini were convicted of false invoicing and sentenced to two years in prison in a separate case, the agency said. They were also asked to pay €1.5 million in compensation to the Italian tax authorities, a plaintiff in the criminal case.

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 S.P. Tyagi and his cousins are alleged to be the beneficiaries.

The ED has booked Mr. 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 defence ministry tenders. After the court verdict, Mr. Orsi said his acquittal from international corruption charges was “expected”. “I didn’t expect anything different as I didn’t commit the act,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 12:07:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/chopper-scam-two-exbosses-of-finmeccanica-cleared-of-graft/article6485467.ece

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