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Finmeccanica boss Orsi on trial in Milan

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsThe former chairman and CEO of Italian defense giant Finmeccanica went on trial Wednesday in Italy.

Giuseppe Orsi is charged with fraud and corruption. Prosecutors say he bribed Indian officials to win a 2010 contract to produce a dozen helicopters for use by India’s political leaders. The sale was valued at €560 million, or $750 million.

Bruno Spagnolini, the former head of AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, is also on trial.

Both were arrested earlier this year.

Orsi was held for nearly three months prior to his trial. Police raids in the investigation covered Orsi’s home and several offices at AgustaWestland near Milan.

Three other executives from AgustaWestland have been under house arrest.

The Italian government owns about 30 percent of Finmeccanica.

The arrest warrant for Orsi and Spagnolini said they ‘presided over a system of bribery and corruption that was part of the company philosophy,’ according to the AP.

Orsi has denied wrongdoing, the AP said, and Spagnolini hasn’t commented on the case.

Finmeccanica is Italy’s second biggest company with about 60,000 employees. 

Orsi’s lawyer, Ennio Amodio, said his client will ‘demonstrate that those helicopters were purchased because they are the best’ and not because of graft, according to the AP.

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