Finmeccanica unit in billion-dollar bid for India army deal

AgustaWestland a contender despite bribe probe, minister says

Finmeccanica unit in billion-dollar bid for India army deal

Moscow, April 29 - Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica SpA is not at risk of being black-listed in India and remains a candidate in an Indian government bidding contest for helicopters. Speaking from Moscow, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Kurshid said an investigation into alleged bribes paid by Finmeccanica unit AgustaWestland to win a government contract "is a specific case which will not have implications for Finmeccanica in terms of contracts and public works in our country". The Italian defense contractor, which employs some 70,000 around the world, has been embroiled in an investigation in Italy and India into alleged bribes paid in the previous sale of helicopters to the Indian air force. On March 13, Indian criminal investigators searched the New Delhi offices of Finmeccanica and its subsidiary AgustaWestland as part of the probe over alleged bribes paid in the sale of 12 AW-101 helicopters. Earlier Monday, Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony said in a written statement that AgustaWestland remains actively involved in the bidding process for two contracts to supply 56 helicopters to India's navy - a deal worth about one billion dollars - as well as in a separate bid to supply 14 helicopters to the country's coast guard.

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