The Wall Street Journalreported this week that Italian police had arrested Giuseppe Orsi, the chairman and CEO of Italian defense contractor Finmeccanica, in connection with allegations that, when he was heading the company's AgustaWestland subsidiary in 2010, AW bribed Indian officials in order to win a contract to sell India 12 helicopters.
The current head of AW was also reportedly placed under arrest, according to the Journal, which said neither man had been charged. India is reportedly conducting its own investigation.
In a statement on its website Tuesday, Finmeccanica referenced the "precautionary measures issued ... towards" the men. The company expressed "hope that clarity is established quickly" and said business continues as usual at the company.
A meeting of the board of directors was held Wednesday, at the conclusion of which Finmeccanica issued a new statement naming Alessandro Pansa chief executive officer and chief operating officer. Simultaneously, Finmeccanica named Admiral Guido Venturoni vice chairman, calling him "the most senior member of the Board" and lead independent director. A shareholders meeting is to be held on April 2.
AgustaWestland recently dropped out of a competition to build dozens of new combat rescue helicopters for the U.S. Air Force, leaving United Technologies as the sole "name" bidder on that contract. At last report, AW was, however, still expected to bid in cooperation with Boeing on a contract to build the new VXX "Marine One "helicopter fleet for the U.S. President.
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