Corporate Feb 13, 2013
London: Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said his government was prepared to do "whatever necessary to clean up" defence firm Finmeccanica after the arrest of its CEO who is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs 362 crore in India to get orders for 12 helicopters.
"There is a problem with the governance of Finmeccanica at the moment and we will face up to it," Monti told Italian television. His statement comes after Italian police arrested company chairman and chief executive Giuseppe Orsi for questioning in Milan.
The Italian government owns 30 percent stake in the country's second-largest industrial group after Fiat. Orsi is suspected of being involved in payment of bribes in the sale of 12 helicopters produced by Finmeccanica's subsidiary AgustaWestland to the Indian government in 2010.
The current CEO of Finmeccanica headed AugustaWestland at the time the deal was made. Italian news agency Ansa reports that prosecutors suspect around 50 million euros (Rs 362 crore approximately), about 10 percent of the deal were ploughed back into kickbacks to ensure AgustaWestland won the contract.
In February 2010, India had inked the deal to acquire the 12 three-engine AW-101 helicopters from AgustaWestland for IAF's elite Communication Squadron, which ferries around the President, PM and other VVIPs.
The deal has been under the scanner for more than a year now after Italian media reports suggested the arrest of two alleged middlemen in Europe for paying bribes to secure it. Orsi has been under investigation for bribery and embezzlement for several months and has denied any wrongdoing.