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India confirms Finmeccanica copter payment freeze

Berlusconi blasts 'moralism on third world bribes'

India confirms Finmeccanica copter payment freeze

New Delhi, February 14 - India on Thursday confirmed it had frozen payment on a batch of helicopters from Finmeccanica pending the results of a corruption probe in which the Italian defence giant's CEO was arrested. The Indian defence ministry said it had suspended "all future payments" to Finmeccanica's copter unit AugustaWestland after the arrest of Giuseppe Orsi, who has since been replaced. The ministry said it had asked Finmeccanica's new CEO, Alessandro Pansa, for any information he might be able to provide on suspected bribes in the 12-copter deal. Two of the craft have been delivered and one is on the way. Finmeccanica is Italy's biggest defence contractor and a major world player, employing some 70,000 people. Media magnate Silvio Berlusconi, who was premier when the deal went through in 2010, said bribes to secure contracts "in the third world" were only to be expected and accused Finmeccanica's critics of "facile moralism".

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