AgustaWestland which is being accused of changing the specs of its AW109 helicopter to be included in a contract to supply VVIP helicopters in India is being similarly charged in Malta. Its competitor, Eurocopter has charged that AgustaWestland with corruption in a Euro58 million contract for the procurement of up to three helicopters for the Maltese Armed Forces.
AgustaWestland has filed a judicial protest against competitor Eurocopter which accused the former of corruption. In the protest AgustaWestland denied any irregularities during the process, and claims of unfair disadvantage made by Eurocopter. The unlawful changes pointed out by Eurocopter are said to be "identical" to what has so far been discovered by Italian police a week ago, who arrested Finmeccanica's most senior officials for allegedly bribing Indian officials in a tender for the procurement of military helicopters, according to reports.
In response to Eurocopter's queries about the change in document, the contracts department said that they "knew nothing about it." Meanwhile, Eurocopter added that since August 2011, the AFM were known to be considering a helicopter with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of five tonnes, in order to allow seaborne operations and integration with its marine craft P-61.
Only Eurocopter and Agusta Westland bid for the AFM tender issued last September, 75% of which will be financed by the Europea Union's border control budget.
However, Eurocopter was informed that they were being "administratively disqualified" from the process last month, on the basis that their objection to the changes did not go through the right channels of redress, and that their submission was technically wrong because the financial package was included in two CDs and not in one.
As was the case in India, the anomalies flagged in Malta are related to the alleged tweaking of specifications in the take-off weight of the helicopters, which when compared to Eurocopter, allegedly suit Finmeccanica and its subsidiary supplier Agusta Westland, Malta Today reported.
Referring to press reports related to the possible cancellation of the contract for the supply of 12 VVIP AW101 helicopters to India, Finmeccanica confirms that its subsidiary company, AgustaWestland, has received no such communication from Indias MOD. Finmeccanica is confident in India's reputation for fair and transparent proceedings and respect for the rule of law, for which India has an established reputation
The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not arresting former IAF chief SP Tyagi and his cousins may help the defense argument in the trial against previous Finmeccanica executives Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini in an Italian court. The CBI has been investigating the alleged payment of bribe in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter purchase case
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