BRUSSELS/MILAN, June 4 Belgium's railway
operator SNCB said it had passed on an audit of the purchase of
high-speed trains from Italian manufacturer Finmeccanica
to Belgium's prosecutor on Tuesday, after it raised
questions relating to the procurement.
Belgium cancelled the order for three trains made by
Finmeccanica unit AnsaldoBreda after the trains suffered a
series of cancellations and delays when launched by Dutch
railways in December.
"We're just not sure about a couple of things, there are a
few questionmarks in this procurement process," said a spokesman
AnsaldoBreda said the high-speed Fyra trains it sold to
Belgium and the Netherlands were safe, rejecting allegations by
the two countries which moved this week to cancel the contract.
AnsaldoBreda, a loss-making unit of state-controlled
Finmeccanica, said it would seek damages.
"The public must know that the (Fyra) train is safe and as
such it has been certified and checked by the competent bodies,"
SNCB last Friday cancelled its order with AnsaldoBreda and
said it would seek damages from the Italian company, which it
had accused of producing trains that could not cope with severe
cold last winter.
Dutch train operator Netherlands Railways said on Monday it
would stop using the train, which suffered a series of delays
when launched in December and proved so unreliable in a cold
snap in January that it was withdrawn.
AnsaldoBreda said the problems that arose in January "were
only a pretext to block the contract" and had emerged because
the train was repeatedly driven at 250 kilometres per hour,
beyond the recommended limit in case of heavy snow.
(Reporting by Ben Deighton and Danilo Masoni; Editing by David