MILAN, July 16 An Italian judge has issued
arrest warrants against a British consultant and an Indian
lawyer accused of helping Finmeccanica unit
AgustaWestland bribe Indian officials to win a high profile
helicopter contract, their lawyers said on Wednesday.
The judge declared the two fugitives and said the paperwork
had been sent to their lawyers.
Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos, the lawyer for Christian
Michell, a consultant based in Dubai, dismissed the arrest
warrant as "absurd".
Maria Francesca Fuso said her client Gautam Khaitan, who
lives in India, could not be considered a fugitive.
"He knew nothing about this measure, there has been no
attempt to evade justice. He's Indian, he works in India and he
lives in India," she said, adding that her client would appeal
against the measure.
The warrants were issued as part of a broader investigation
into suspected bribes paid in connection with a 560 million euro
($757 million) order to supply 12 presidential helicopters to
India in 2010.
AgustaWestland won the contract but New Delhi terminated the
deal in January 2013 after corruptions allegations emerged as
part of an investigation by Italian prosecutors.
Former Finmeccanica Chairman and CEO, Giuseppe Orsi, and the
former CEO of AgustaWestland Bruno Spagnolini have already been
sent to trial in the case on charges of international corruption
and falsifying invoices they have repeatedly denied. A verdict
is expected in October.
The case has dented the reputation of Finmeccanica and
raised the spectre of the Italian state controlled defence
contractor being blacklisted from the lucrative Indian market.
($1 = 0.7394 Euros)
(Reporting by Emilio Parodi, writing by Danilo Masoni; Editing
by Alison Williams)