CEO of Italian Defense Giant Arrested in Bribery Probe

Prosecutors suspicious of sale of helicopters to India
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2013 9:42 AM CST
Then-AgustaWestland Group CEO Giuseppe Orsi attends the "Intelligence on the World, Europe, and Italy" economic forum, at Villa d'Este, in Cernobbio, Italy, Sept. 3, 2010.   (Luca Bruno)
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(Newser) – Italian police arrested the chief executive of Italy's largest defense and aerospace group today, as part of an investigation into alleged international corruption. Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi is under investigation in a case involving the payment of $670 million in bribes for the sale of 12 helicopters to the government of India. Prosecutors ordered a search of Orsi's home, as well as the headquarters of Finmeccanica's AgustaWestland helicopter division. They also ordered the house arrest of AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini.

Finmeccanica, which is 30% government owned and was once considered a jewel among Italian companies, said in a statement that it will continue operating as usual, calling the measures against Orsi and Spagnolini "precautionary." Finmeccanica and its executives have been the target of a wide-ranging, years-long investigation into alleged corruption in the awarding of international contracts. Orsi took over the company when his predecessor, Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, was also implicated in the bribery investigation. (Read more Finmeccanica stories.)

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