Reports of the sentencing of former Finmeccanica boss, Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former head of AgustaWestland, has once again brought the spotlight on suspicion of bribery in the deal to sell 12 VVIP helicopters to India.
Italian Media reported that Giuseppe Orsi, was sentenced today by the Milan appeals court to 4.5 years in jail for false accounting and corruption over the sale of 12 luxury helicopters to India while a four-year jail term on the same charges was handed down to Bruno Spagnolini, former head of AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica.
The case against the two stems from an investigation launched in 2012 into the sale of 12 luxury helicopters to India's government. Orsi was arrested in January 2014 and resigned as chief executive of the aerospace group following the leak of a report by a whistle-blower.
India cancelled the deal with AgustaWestland after Orsi’s arrest and began its own investigation into allegations that the company paid bribes to win the 556-million-euro (USD 753 million) contract. Two helicopters had been delivered to India and are gathering dust in Delhi.
In their first trial in October 2014, the two former executives were sentenced to two years in prison on the false accounting charge. But the appeals court had ruled on corruption.
AFP quoted Ennio Amodio, Orsi's lawyer as saying, "This sentence is inexplicable," and that he will file another appeal to suspend the latest court's decision.
The Milan appeals court also decided to confiscate belongings of the two men worth 7.5 million euros (USD 8.5 million), RadioCor news agency reported.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has been probing the bribery charge which rests on a former chief of the Indian Air Force and his two cousins receiving bribes to make changes in the technical requirement of the VVIP helicopter tender to accommodate the AgustaWestland Aircraft.