Finmeccanica division 'cooperating with Indian probe'

AgustaWestland says it complied with technical requirement

Finmeccanica division 'cooperating with Indian probe'

Rome, February 21 - AgustaWestland, the helicopter division of troubled defence giant Finmeccanica, said Thursday that it is cooperating with the Indian military in its investigation of an allegedly tainted helicopter contract. In a statement, AgustaWestland said it is "providing the necessary clarifications" requested last week by India's defence ministry about the contract for purchase of 12 AW-101 helicopters, now linked to accusations of bribery. Those accusations led last week to the resignation and arrest of Finmeccanica chief executive officer Giuseppe Orsi and a threat to completely cancel the purchase contract by the Indian government. AgustaWestland said it is confirming that the company won the original contract based on a complete and proper technical evaluation of its proposals to meet the operation needs of India's Air force. Last week, India took the initial steps to cancel the helicopter contract. It froze payments on the units, two of which have been delivered and one on the way, pending the results of the corruption probe. India's defence ministry also said it had asked Finmeccanica's new CEO, Alessandro Pansa, for any information he might be able to provide on suspected bribes. Finmeccanica is Italy's biggest defence contractor and a major world player, employing some 70,000 people.

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