[QODLink]
Europe

Italy defence group CEO arrested for bribery

Prosecutors say Giuseppe Orsi, head of state-controlled Finmeccanica, paid bribes to secure helicopter sales to India.
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2013 12:27
Italian PM Mario Monti said the government would deal with management issues at the company [GALLO/GETTY]

Italian police have arrested the chief executive of the state-controlled defence group Finmeccanica SpA in a corruption investigation centred on the sale of helicopters to the Indian government, a judicial source has said.

Prosecutors in Busto Arsizio ordered the arrest on Tuesday of Giuseppe Orsi for alleged bribes paid to secure the sale of 12 executive aircraft manufactured by AgustWestland, Finmeccanica's helicopter division, when he was head of the unit, the source said.

"There is a problem with the governance of Finmeccanica at the moment and we will face up to it."

- Prime Minister Mario Monti

Police were carrying out a search of Orsi's offices in Italy's financial capital, Milan, police sources said.

Authorities have also ordered the house arrest of Bruno Spagnolini, AgustaWestland's current chief executive.

Highlighting the political sensitivity of the case less than two weeks before elections, Prime Minister Mario Monti said the government would deal with management issues at the company.

"There is a problem with the governance of Finmeccanica at the moment and we will face up to it," Monti told RAI state television.

India's defence ministry said it could not immediately comment.

Series of corruption cases

In a brief statement, Finmeccanica expressed its support for Orsi and said it hoped his legal position could be clarified as soon as possible. Its business was operating as normal in the meantime, the company added.

Finmeccanica and its executives have been the target of a wide-ranging investigation into alleged corruption in the awarding of international contracts.

Orsi replaced the former chief executive who resigned under government pressure and has been steering the loss-making company through a restructuring.

The company is 30 percent owned by the government, and says it has always done business in India through official channels.

The Italian business world has been shaken in recent weeks by a series of corruption cases, notably a derivatives scandal at Banca Monte dei Paschi, the world's oldest surviving bank, and an alleged bribery case involving oil service group Saipem.

364

Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Craft breweries see rising sales, challenging large corporations for a bigger taste of Mexico's $20bn beer market.
Students kept from using screen-based technology for five days showed improvement in recognizing emotion, US study says.
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
join our mailing list