India wins Italy appeal over AgustaWestland helicopter deal
Rome – India on Friday partially won an appeal against an Italian court order rejecting its request to recover bank guarantees over a scrapped helicopter deal at the centre of a bribery scandal.
Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, which owns helicopter maker AgustaWestland, said the court in Milan had “partially upheld the complaint” from the Indian defence ministry.
The company said in a statement that the court ruling would allow India to encash “an amount of €228 million ($311 million) maximum against a call seeking to cash €278 million”.
“AgustaWestland will assert its rights to recover the aforesaid amounts in the arbitration process already initiated,” it added.
India had cancelled the deal in January to buy 12 luxury helicopters amid allegations that the company paid bribes to win the €556-million contract.
In March, a court in Milan had ruled in favour of AgustaWestland, preventing India from encashing guarantees of more than €278 million.
India had suspended the contract in 2013 after Italian investigators began looking into accusations that AgustaWestland paid bribes to win the contract in 2010.
Italian prosecutors suspect kickbacks worth around 10% of the deal €— $67.6 million — were paid to Indian officials to swing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland, according to Italian media reports.
The company denies any wrongdoing and the deal is currently under arbitration in India.