Italy orders to probe Finmeccanica helicopter deal

Friday, Apr 24, 2015

Italian tax police on Thursday searched many locations in several cities as part of the probe into suspected graft by former Finmeccanica managers concerning a helicopter contract in Algeria.

Among the 41 places searched was the northern city of Varese, where the state-controlled aerospace and defence giant's helicopter unit AgustaWestand is based.

The investigations concern the alleged creation of "slush funds" and fake invoices by former AgustaWestland managers to help secure a tender to supply helicopters to the Algerian government in 2009-2011, according to prosecutors.

Finmeccanica issued no comment on the investigation launched by police.

A day earlier, Finmeccanica announced that it had drawn up a new anti-corruption code amid attempts by CEO Mauro Moretti to restore its reputation after a major bribery scandal over a $600 million deal to sell military helicopters to India in 2010.

Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland deny wrongdoing in the Indian case.

The company's former chairman and chief executive Giuseppe Orsi was jailed for two years for falsifying invoices but cleared of the charge of paying bribes to the former Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi to secure the helicopter contract.

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