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India considering blacklisting AgustaWestland - media report

New Delhi scrapped helicopter contract amid birbery probe

21 January, 14:30
India considering blacklisting AgustaWestland - media report (ANSA) - New Delhi, January 21 - The Indian government is considering blacklisting the AgustaWestland unit of Italian defence giant Finmeccanica, according to local media reports. The development comes less than a month after India scrapped a contract to buy AW-101 helicopters outfitted for VIP use from the company amid an ongoing bribery probe.

On Monday The Hindu reported that the government was examining the possibility of blacklisting AW and that a final decision would be taken after consultations with the justice and defence ministries and the Central Investigation Bureau (CBI). Sources at the Finmeccanica subsidiary denied knowledge of the matter.

India froze payments on the 12 helicopters early last year after only three had been delivered in the wake of allegations that bribes had been paid to secure the contract.

It subsequently cancelled the $770 million deal at the start of 2014 but has agreed to take part in an arbitration process. Meanwhile, both Italy and India have opened separate judicial investigations into the claims, which led to the arrest and resignation of Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi.