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Italy’s top court orders re-trial in AgustaWestland case (Relevant for GS Mains Paper II)

Italy’s apex court ordered Retrial for guilty held in AgustaWestland Corruption case:
Italy’s top court has ordered the retrial of two top executives of defence group Finmeccanica in the bribery case.
The top executives, former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and former AgustaWestland chief Bruno Spagnolini — were sentenced in April by a Milan appeals court “for corruption and falsifying invoices.”

Relevance of the retrial ordered by Italy’s apex court: 
It will have serious implications for the ongoing probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the VVIP chopper scandal.

This comes at a time of dramatic developments in India, with the government and the Opposition trading charges. Last week, former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi was arrested on the charge that he received kickbacks for altering the technical specifications of the bid to favour AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica.

CBI claims it has proof against retired ACM Tyagi, the evidence is largely based on the happenings in Italy. So any reversal in the judgement in the case there will have serious implications in India.

About Finmeccanica:
Finmeccanica is an Italian multinational aerospace, defence and security company headquartered in Rome in Italy and with operations worldwide. It is the ninth-largest defence contractor in the world based on applicable 2014 revenues. AgustaWestland, is  a subsidiary of Finmeccanica.

Background:
India concluded a deal for 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters with AgustaWestland International Limited (AWIL), UK in February 2010 at a price of Euro 556.262 million and three helicopters were delivered and accepted in December, 2012. They were meant to ferry the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and other dignitaries of the country.

However, allegations of corruption surfaced in Italy in early 2012 and Orsi was arrested in February 2013. Following this the then Defence Minister A.K. Antony ordered an investigation and the agreement was put on hold and the contract was eventually terminated in January 2014.

The CBI had been investigating the case since then.



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