The scandal surrounding Finmeccanica Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Orsi has grown even murkier. A day after he was arrested by Italian police over alleged bribes paid to secure the sale of 12 AgustaWestland executive aircraft when he was head of the Finmeccanica helicopter unit, Ex-Airforce chief SP Tyagi has been formally named by Italian investigators as one of those to whom Finmeccanica, the parent company of Agusta Westland, paid bribes to swing the deal in favour of the company.
As the controversy unfolds, we bring you key facts of the scam.
* Augusta Westland, one of Finmeccanica’s most profitable subsidiaries, won a government contract to build choppers which would be used by the President, Prime Minister and other VVIPs after it edged out Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk. The new helicopters were being procured to replace the ageing Russian-made Mi-8 helicopters. The first helicopters were due to be delivered by December 2012 after the 560 million euro ($749.2 million) contract was awarded to Finmeccanica in 2010.
* According to reports in an Italian daily ‘La Repubblica‘, slush funds (a reserve of money used for illicit purposes) were generated after a “sudden” escalation of price by 10 million euros in 2010. The reports say while it is not clear whether kickbacks were paid in India, the money was allegedly used by a top Finmeccanica official to bribe Italian political parties.
* In February 2012, Defence Minister AK Antony ordered a probe into allegations that government officials were involved in taking kickbacks for changing the terms and conditions of the deal in favour of the Italian company.
* Finmeccanica Chief Executive and Chairman Giuseppe Orsi was reportedly arrested on Tuesday, for alleged bribes paid to secure the sale of the choppers. Interestingly, Orsi had been tasked with rebuilding the group’s reputation after a corruption probe forced out former boss Pier Francesco Guarguaglini.
* The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said Italy had not shared details of the corruption probe into the helicopter sales, while the defence ministry said it could not immediately comment on the issue.
* Ex-Airforce chief SP Tyagi has been formally named by Italian investigators as one of those to whom Finmeccanica, the parent company of Agusta Westland, paid bribes to swing the deal in favour of the company.