The chairman and chief executive officer of Finmeccanica SpA (BIT:FNC), Giuseppe Orsi was interrogated by an Italian Judge to find out if he supervised the alleged bribery payment to ensure that a 2010 helicopter contract was awarded to Augusta Westland’s the helicopter division.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the information regarding the interrogation came from Orosi’s legal counsel and a copy of the warrant of arrest.
The Wall Street Journal said that Orosi’s warrant of arrest indicated the Italian prosecutors have been investigation Orosi for nearly two years. He suspected involved in international corruption and fraud associated with the €556 million contract awarded to Agusta Westland to supply 12 AW101 helicopters to the Indian government in 2010.
According to Ennio Amodio, the lawyer representing Orosi, the CEO denied any involvement in the bribery accusations. According to him, he did not commit any wrongdoing related to the helicopter contract in 2010. He also told the judge that he did not receive any benefits or special treatment during the bidding process for the 12 helicopters.
Orsi is currently under house arrest along with Bruno Spagnolini, CEO of Augusta Westland. Both men were under investigation in the bribery case, but no charges were filed against them. The arrest warrant indicated that both executives supervised the payment of bribes to Indian officials using three mediators to win the helicopter contract.
“Agusta Westland and its management seem to be used to paying bribes and we have reason to believe that such a corporate philosophy could be repeated in the future if not stopped through an arrest,” Italian judge Luca Labianca wrote in the arrest warrant
One of the suspected intermediaries identified in the arrest warrant was Guido Ralph Haschke, a U.S.-Swiss national who worked as a consultant for Finmeccanica SpA (BIT:FNC).
The prosecutors also named S.P. Tyagi, former head of the Indian Air Force as the recipient of the bribery money from Finmeccanica SpA (BIT:FNC) to influence the decision in the awarding of the helicopter contract in favor of the company. Tyagi said any suggestion the he received bribes from the company to influence the contract was a “total lie.”
“One allegation was that they paid the money so that I could change the height from 18,000 to 15,000. Now this is blatant lie,” said Tyagi said in the interview.
“not a single recommendation was made by the air force for a change in any requirement of this particular tender,” Mr. Tyagi added. According to him, he was already retired prior to the flight trials as part of the technical evaluation of bidding process.
Prosecutors suspected that Haschke gave at least €100,000 in cash to a second intermediary known as the Tyagi brothers, who passed the bribery money to their cousin, S.P. Tyagi, who was then serving as Chief of the Indian Air Force to change the technical requirement in the contract in favor of AugustaWestland.
Tyagi is planning to consult lawyers in connection with the Italian investigation. The Indian government launched its own investigation regarding the issue.