20 June 2013

AgustaWestland trial kicks off in Italy

Lawyers representing the former chief executive of helicopter design company AgustaWestland have asked an Italian court to call India's Defence Minister as a witness in the opening exchanges of its corruption trial.

By James Barnes

Helicopter trial expected to be lengthy

Former CEO Bruno Spagnolini, along with Giuseppe Orsi - the former head of the Italian defence group Finmeccanica – stand accused of paying bribes to intermediaries to secure the sale of 12 helicopters in a $ 749 million deal with the Indian Government in 2010, reports the Indian Express.


According to the report, Mr Spagnolini's lawyer, Massimo Bassi, requested that retired Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi be called.
The court - which allowed India’s Ministry of Defence and Italy’s tax agency seek damages - said the next hearing will be held on 11 July in what is expected to be a long and drawn out trial.


Finmeccanica and Mr Orsi, who left the company a few days after his arrest on 12 February, deny any wrongdoing. Mr Spagnolini, who also stepped down, denies any responsibility. Neither of the men appeared at court.
Mr Orsi's lawyer Ennio Amodio was quoted by the Express as stating: ‘We will demonstrate that the tender in India was regularly carried out and nothing illegal was done in that country.’

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