Italian weapons tycoon’s Indian corruption scandal

This 23 october 2012 video says about itself:

Finmeccanica advisor wanted for corruption

Former Finmeccanica manager, Paolo Pozzessere, has been arrested for alleged international corruption. He is wanted in connection with supply contracts to Panama and Brazil which is part of a broader investigation into Europe’s third largest defence group. Former Industry Minister Claudio Scajola [originally in the Christian Democrat party, later in Berlusconi’s party] is also being investigated.

British anti-arms trade activists recently scored a victory against Italian merchants of death corporation Finmeccanica. They managed to drive that firm out of the National Gallery in London, which Finmeccanica abused for selling weapons to Middle East dictatorships and others.

Finmeccanica is linked to the business empire of Silvio Berlusconi.

This video, from television in India, says about itself:

Italian CEO arrested in chopper scam

Feb 12, 2013

Another scam has hit the defence deals in India. Now, the VIP chopper deal of 14 helicopters purchased from Italy’s biggest firm Finmeccanica has come under the scanner. The chief executive of the firm Giuseppe Orsi has been arrested on corruption charges.

Today, from the BBC:

12 February 2013 Last updated at 11:38 GMT

Finmeccanica’s Giuseppe Orsi held on corruption charges

Finmeccanica is Italy‘s biggest aerospace and defence group

The chief executive of Italian aerospace and defence firm Finmeccanica has been arrested on corruption charges.

Giuseppe Orsi has been under investigation for bribery and embezzlement for several months. He has always denied any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors allege he paid bribes to ensure the sale of 12 helicopters to the Indian government.

Finmeccanica shares slumped in Milan after initially being suspended.

They fell more than 9% to 4.236 euros.

In a statement, Finmeccanica expressed solidarity with Mr Orsi and said: “Finmeccanica confirms that management activity and the initiatives it has undertaken are continuing in an orderly fashion.”

Italy‘s Prime Minister, Mario Monti, said in an interview with Italian television: “Magistrates will do their work. I’m sure they will do it thoroughly and in the best way possible.”

He added: “There is a problem with the governance of Finmeccanica at the moment and we will face up to it.”

Maybe pro-capitalist Monti was so relatively critical of Finmeccanica capitalists because of the Finmeccanica-Berlusconi connection. Berlusconi is now Monti’s rival in the elections.

Arrest warrants have been issued for two people living in Switzerland. The head of Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland business, Bruno Spagnolini, was also placed under house arrest.

India’s foreign ministry said it had not been informed of the raid.

“We had asked the government of Italy through our mission in Rome for details of the investigation, but were told that it is a judicial process and the government of Italy is unable to share any information,” said foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin.

An Indian defence ministry spokesman was later quoted by the AFP news agency as saying the country had now ordered its own investigation.

For Italy, it is the latest in a string of corporate scandals – including risky trades at the bank Monti Paschi di Siena and allegations of bribery at the oil services group Saipem.

Mr Orsi was in the process of overhauling Finmeccanica to try to make the company profitable again. The Italian government owns about 30% of the company.

India’s Defence Ministry said today that it has put a €560 million (£483m) contract to purchase helicopters from Italian company Finmeccanica on hold amid allegations that bribes were paid to obtain it: here.

Scandal surrounding the sale of 36 French fighter jets to India: here.

15 thoughts on “Italian weapons tycoon’s Indian corruption scandal

  1. Berlusconi says foreign-contract probes economic ‘suicide’

    Only governments, firms ‘should intervene’ in agreements

    12 February, 13:52

    (ANSA) – Rome, February 12 – Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday that probes by Italian prosecutors into contracts Italian firms sign abroad were a form of economic suicide.

    Earlier on Tuesday Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested as part of a probe into allegations bribes were paid to secure a contract for the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters. “Everyone knows that as well as the tenders, agreements between governments are also involved,” Berlusconi told ANSA.

    “The fact that there is the risk of magistrates intervening I consider to be economic suicide”.


  2. Danger Orsi could tamper with evidence, say prosecutors

    Indian authorities also probing corruption case

    12 February, 12:58

    (ANSA) – Busto Arsizio, February 12 – An Italian judge said there was a danger Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi could tamper with evidence in the order for his arrest on Tuesday.

    The arrest warrant also said Orsi has been trying to hamper the probe into allegations bribes were paid to secure a contract for the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters produced by AgustaWestland, which Finmeccanica controls.

    Prosecutors in New Delhi opened a separate probe into the case on Tuesday.


  3. Finmeccanica chief Orsi arrested in Italian graft probe

    Bribes allegedly paid to land Indian helicopter contract

    12 February, 13:31

    (ANSA) – Rome, February 12 – Giuseppe Orsi, the CEO of state-controlled Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested on Tuesday in relation to a probe into international corruption.

    Orsi is suspected of involvement in the payment of bribes regarding the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters produced by AgustaWestland, which Finmeccanica controls.

    Orsi was at the helm of AgustaWestland in 2010 when it won the contract to supply the helicopters.

    The CEO, who had known he was under investigation over the case for months, denied any wrongdoing before his arrest and said he would only resign his post if asked to do so by the Italian government.

    Prosecutors suspect around 50 million euros of the over-500-million-euro deal were ploughed back into kickbacks to ensure AgustaWestland won the contract.

    Police searched Orsi’s home and the defence contractor’s offices in Milan on Tuesday.

    AgustaWestland’s current CEO Bruno Spagnolini was put under house arrest. Finmeccanica issued a statement expressing solidarity with Orsi and Spagnolini and stressing that the company’s operations were continuing with “order”. Outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti said the case revealed “a problem with the governance” of Finmeccanica. The company is approximately 30% owned by the Italian state.

    Orsi has also denied any wrongdoing in an investigation into the alleged payment of bribes to political parties. Tuesday’s arrest is sensitive because it could have an impact on the campaign for Italy’s general election on February 24-25.

    Orsi’s appointment in May 2011 was backed by the Northern League, an ally of then Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi is leading the centre-right’s campaign for the upcoming vote.


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