India says does not believe AgustaWestland bribery denial

NEW DELHI Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:40am EST

A visitor walks past a stand for Italian defence group Finmeccanica during the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre February 19, 2013. REUTERS/Ben Job

A visitor walks past a stand for Italian defence group Finmeccanica during the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre February 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ben Job

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's defense minister said on Wednesday he did not believe a denial from Finmeccanica unit AgustaWestland that it paid any bribes to swing a $750 million chopper deal.

Defense minister A.K. Antony said the company had responded to a show cause notice demanding an explanation of accusations by Italian prosecutors that millions of euros in kickbacks were paid before the deal was clinched.

"They have replied. They have denied the whole thing. We don't believe it," Antony said during a parliamentary debate.

(Reporting by Satarupa Bhattacharjya; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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