Italian Court Clears Former Leonardo Bosses In India Corruption Case (excerpt)
(Source: Reuters; published Jan 08, 2018)
By Emilio Parodi
After five years of legal yo-yo, Bruno Spagnolini (L) and Giuseppe Orsi, the two former chief executives of AgustaWestland (now Leonardo Helicopters), have been fully cleared of corruption charges by a Milan appeals court. (photo by Imago)
MILAN --- An Italian appeals court on Monday acquitted two former Leonardo executives in a bribery case related to a large 2010 helicopter contract with the Indian government.

Giuseppe Orsi, former chief executive of the Italian state-controlled defence group previously known as Finmeccanica, and Bruno Spagnolini, former head of its helicopter unit AgustaWestland, were both cleared of corruption charges, with the court citing a lack of sufficient proof.

In December 2016, Italy’s highest court had ordered a retrial of the case after the former executives of the Rome-based group had been found guilty on corruption charges related to a 560 million-euro (£495 million) contract to supply a dozen helicopters to New Delhi.

After Monday’s acquittal Orsi’s lawyer, Ennio Amodio, said the decision closed a case “which should have been clear to investigators (from the start)”, adding that the judge found no evidence of corruption, of the passage of money or that Indian officials interfered with the tender.

Orsi had received a four-and-a-half-year jail sentence after the previous trial had overturned the verdict of a lower court, with Spagnolini sentenced to a four-year jail term.

“With all the damage that was caused to the company, the damage caused to me is minor,” Spagnolini told reporters after Monday’s decision. (end of excerpt)


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Italy Court Acquits Two Executives In AgustaWestland Chopper Case
(Source: Press Trust of India; published Jan 8, 2018)
MILAN --- An Italian court today acquitted Giuseppe Orsi, the former president of defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, of charges related to alleged bribes paid in exchange for a Rs 3,600 crore (€560 million) VVIP chopper deal to sell 12 AugustaWestland helicopters to India.

Orsi was arrested in 2014 and resigned as chief executive of the aerospace group which was later renamed as Leonardo.

Orsi was at the helm of AugustaWestland when the deal was struck and he is suspected of involvement in the payment of bribes.

He had been sentenced to four-a-half-years years in jail for false accounting and corruption.

Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO of the company's helicopters subsidiary AgustaWestland, who had also been handed a four-year jail term on the same charges, was also cleared, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The case against Orsi and Spagnolini resulted from an investigation launched in 2012 into the sale of 12 luxury helicopters to India.

India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AugustaWestland in January, 2014 for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks paid by the firm for securing the deal.

India's defence ministry had ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 362 crore after the arrest of Orsi and Spagnolini by Italian investigators in connection with the case.

In February 2010, India had inked the deal to acquire 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters from AgustaWestland for VVIP use.

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