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Finmeccanica CEO Arrested on Indian Bribery Charges

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TNI Bureau: Italian police arrested the head of Italian state-controlled defence group Finmeccanica S.p.A on bribery charges. The role of Giuseppe Orsi came under scanner in a corruption probe into the helicopter sales to Indian government.

The defence scam can be seen as the Second Bofors scam in which late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was allegedly involved.

The arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, Finmeccanica Chief Executive and Chairman, could hurt Congress, which had been defending Rajiv in the Bofors case. Reacting to the issue, Indian foreign ministry said that Italy had not shared details of the corruption probe into the helicopter sales.

Orsi was arrested for alleged bribes paid to secure the sale of 12 AgustaWestland executive aircrafts when he was head of the Finmeccanica helicopter unit. The chief executive of AgustaWestland, Bruno Spagnolini is already under house arrest as part of the probe. Now the defence contractor’s offices in Milan are being searched to find out more in the corruption probe.

The fact was revealed ahead of the parliamentary elections, which are scheduled to be held on Feb 24 and 25 in Italy. The government may face criticism for the involvement of Finmeccanica CEO in the scam. Prime Minister Mario Monti said that there was a problem with Finmeccanica and the case will be dealt strictly at the company.

Orsi was appointed as the head of the defence group in May 2011. He was backed by the Northern League party during Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s tenure. The Centre-left politicians had demanded Orsi to step down when his name was surfaced in the probe. However, he had denied to quit.

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