Former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi plans to sue the company’s former external relations manager, Lorenzo Borgogni, for alleging he paid bribes to Indian offices to secure the VVP helicopter deal.
Orsi and former CEO of AgustaWestland Bruno Spagnolini received a suspended two years sentence after they were found guilty of false invoicing in the Indian deal but were acquitted of all alleged bribery charges.
According to a transcript of Borgogni’s cross examination held on November 15, 2012 at the court of Naples in the presence of deputy public prosecutor Vincenzo Piscitelli, Borgogni claimed that there had been two “agreements” between certain individuals within AgustaWestland and each of the suspected agents-Guido Ralph Haschke and Michel Christian to pay bribes worth Euro 41 million which was later hiked to 51 million.
However, under cross-examination, Borgogni said that he was not sure of the amount of bribe, “I can't tell you this with any accuracy, I only know that the payout was around forty-one million and I heard rumours in the company that Orsi (Giuseppe Orsi, former Managing Director of Finmeccanica) had various meetings with this individual from Lugano (later clarified as Haschke) with a view to increasing the payout to fifty-one million”.
In an exclusive interview with DefenseNews.com, Orsi, said, the probe highlighted defects in the Italian legal system. If he had been allowed to resign before being arrested, he said, it would have saved Finmeccanica from damage to its reputation.
Spagnolini told Defense News that transcripts of wiretaps from the probe were published out of context by newspapers. “We were able to clear that up in the trial, but not before they were published in the Indian media,” he said.
Orsi and Spagnolini intend to appeal the fraudulent invoicing sentence. According to the report, “it is likely that during an appeal hearing, prosecutors will in turn appeal against the corruption acquittal, as they are allowed to do in Italy. Then, under Italy’s three-tier justice system, a second appeal could be heard at Italy’s supreme court”.
Orsi, who does not intend to return to the defense industry, said he hoped “India would drop its own probe into the allegations of bribery and relaunch its procurement of the AW101.”
Finmeccanica’s current CEO, Mauro Moretti, has reached out to India with a similar appeal.
“The verdict will allow us to reopen dialogue with Indian institutions, which was interrupted as a result of the investigations linked to supply of 12 AW101 VVIP helicopters to the Indian MoD,” the CEO and General Manager of Finmeccanica Mauro Moretti said in a statement last month.
“Finmeccanica was never on its knees because of this case and will continue to prosper thanks to its 70,000 skilled staff, its technology and its products,” Orsi told Defense News.