Italian court rejects India’s bid to recover AgustaWestland guarantees

Italian court rejects India’s bid to recover AgustaWestland guarantees

An Italian court has rejected India's request to recover nearly 300 million euros in bank guarantees over a cancelled helicopter deal with defence group Finmeccanica.

The court ruled that it had no jurisdiction over the money deposited as security, which it said had already been paid out by the State Bank of India (SBI) and Deutsche Bank.

Announcing the move, Finmeccanica said in a statement, "The Milan court has confirmed the ruling made last January, prohibiting... the payment of collateral of more than 278 million euros deposited in relation to the contract."

India had deposited more than 278 million euros (Rs. 2364 crore) as security in relation to the contract for buying twelve top-end helicopters from Finmeccanica's unit AgustaWestland. The total value of the deal was pegged at 560 million euros.

But, the Congress-led UPA government cancelled the deal in January this year, citing a violation of integrity relating to alleged corruption.

In February last year, Finmeccanica's then Chairman Giuseppe Orsi was taken into custody for allegedly paying bribes to some Indian authorities for clinching the deal. Along with Orsi, former AgustaWestland chief Bruno Spagnolini is also being tried in Italy's northern city Busto Arisizio.

Meanwhile, India has agreed to AgustaWestland's request for arbitration, but the arbitration process could take months or even years to complete.

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