Anatomy of AgustaWestland helicopter deal
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With the arrest of Finmeccanica CEO Orsi Giuseppe in Italy for his role in arranging kickbacks for the Indian VVIP chopper deal and the CBI inquiry that was subsequently ordered, the focus is back on a widespread investigation in Italy that has exposed a net of fixers and middlemen.
While in the past investigation reports discussed the cast of characters and how money was to be paid for favours, the latest report filed in Italian courts is more significant as it details the money trail. The report specifically talks about how a major part of the alleged Euro 51 million kickbacks was arranged and received by players in Italy, India and Switzerland.
At the heart of the money trail are three engineering consultancy companies — IDS Tunisia, IDS India and Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix.
According to the investigation report, Finmecannica officials allegedly routed money to the middlemen by giving out dubious consultancy contracts to these three firms. The report claimed that payments were made between 2007 and 2011 and calculated the total money channeled through this at over Euro 21 million.
The Italian investigation report into the Rs 3,546 crore VVIP chopper scandal claims that while the middlemen were paid at least Euro 400,000 upfront by Finmecannica in 2005 for bribing officials in India, the rest of the kickbacks came through inflated bills and invoices that were in the guise of engineering contracts in the 2007-11 period.
The report says that Finmecannica CEO Giuseppe Orsi agreed first for a 5 per cent contract with the middlemen — Guido Haschke, Carlo Gerosa and UK consultant Christian Michel — to swing the contract.
"The amounts agreed between AgustaWestland representatives, Giuseppe Orsi and Spagnolini Bruno, with the mediators Haschke Guido Ralph, Gerosa Carlo and also Christian Mitchell were also inclusive of bribes to be paid to Indian public officials to perform deeds which were against their office duties and in particular to manipulate the tender regarding the acquisition of the above mentioned helicopters," the report specifically states.