PARIS --- "There is, conclusively, no evidence of the corruption agreement with a foreign public official, as alleged in the indictment and required by the statute…” on which the prosecution is based.
This is an excerpt from the statement issued by the judges of the second appeal trial in Milan regarding the alleged bribes paid by AgustaWestland for the 560-million-euro contract for 12 helicopters to India in 2010 to explain their acquittal of former Finmeccanica CEOs and AgustaWestland Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini on 8 January 2018. Reuters first reported the release of the document.
It took eight months and 10 days for the magistrates Gamacchio-Marcelli-Nova to release, on Sept. 18, the 322-page document explaining their sentence.
The appeal judges also cite "a chronological disarray that has damaged the indictment ... with reference to a task assigned by appellant Orsi to broker Haschke to conduct negotiations with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Indian in view of obtaining the lowering of the flight altitude as a requirement of the helicopter tender, many months after that reduction had been decided."
This should mark the final, definitive act in this affair, coming as it does after a trial of the first degree, two appellate trials and a sentence of the Supreme Court. One reason is that, during these eight months, the prescription clock has continued to tick, reducing the possibility for the accusation of filing an appeal.
In addition to the two acquittals, the helicopter sale to India has already led to the dropping of charges against Finmeccanica in July 2014, and to a plea negotiation by AgustaWestland, (now Leonardo Helicopters) in August 2014 (AgustaWestland Spa in Italy paid a fine of 80,000 euros and AgustaWestland Ltd. in the United Kingdom paid a fine of 300,000 euros of fine and the confiscation of 7.5 million euros). Italian-American consultant Guido Ralph Haschke reached a plea agreement in April 2014 and was sentenced to one year and 10 months.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: In addition to the outcomes outlined above, the unproven allegations of corruption led the Indian government to pull out of the 560-million euro contract to buy AW-101 VIP helicopters from Agusta-Westland, and to appropriate the 280 million bond posted by the company is lieu of damages.
It is also worth noting that the two former CEOs, who have finally been cleared for the third time of international corruption, have lost their jobs without any compensation.)