Two former AgustaWestland heads sentenced to prison terms

Two former AgustaWestland directors have been sentenced to prison terms, reports Reuters.  In a long-running bribery case linked to the $638 million contract for twelve VIP AW101 helicopters to the Indian Air Force, the Italian courts yesterday reversed a previous acquittal decision.

Giuseppe Orsi, who moved from AgustaWestland to parent Finmeccanica in 2011, has been sentenced to 4½-years in prison, while Bruno Spagnolini has been sentenced to a 4-year term. Spagnolini succeeded Orsi as chief executive of AgustaWestland in 2011 after which he was replaced by Daniele Romiti in early 2013.

In October 2014 a lower court had concluded that the pair had falsified invoices but acquitted them of corruption. The prosecution appealed against the acquittal on the corruption charge, while both Orsi and Spagnolini appealed against the conviction.

The helicopter contract with India is currently suspended,  and the subject of international arbitration in Paris after AgustaWestland opposed the decision in 2014 by New Delhi to cancel it.  It is understood that three AW101s have been delivered, and they are all stored and not being operated.

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