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.

Jeremy Parkin

Jeremy is news editor for Helicopter Investor Jeremy's interest in aviation started during his school days, and while at university he decided to focus on helicopters. This led him to build a detailed database - eventually with global coverage of over 130,000 civil and military helicopters. In 1999, Jeremy launched the world's first helicopter news website, which he continues today through his ownership of Jeremy brings his expert industry knowledge in a partnership with Helicopter Investor, which includes exclusive opinion pieces for us. You can contact him at or follow him on twitter @helihub

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