NEW DELHI Oct 4 AgustaWestland has invoked
arbitration over a scandal-tainted deal to sell helicopters to
the Indian government, according to a statement on Friday from
the unit of Italy's Finmeccanica.
In February, India froze payments on the 560 million euro
($762.91 million) contract to supply 12 helicopters after the
deal became mired in allegations of bribery and the then-CEO of
Finmeccanica was arrested by Italian police for allegedly paying
bribes to secure the deal.
Italy and India are separately investigating allegations
that AgustaWestland paid bribes to win the 2010 deal for the
helicopters to be used by senior politicians.
AgustaWestland denies the allegations.
The company said in the statement, which was given
exclusively to Reuters, that suspension of payment was not
provided for under the terms of the contract and that Indian
authorities had not responded to the company's requests for
bilateral discussions since April.
"The need to resolve this issue has left AgustaWestland with
no other option but to invoke arbitration; the next
step prescribed by the contract. This is not a step we take
lightly," it said.
India had taken delivery of three helicopters before the
deal was stalled.