Ex-Finmeccanica chief freed from jail

AP News
Posted: May 04, 2013 7:49 AM

MILAN (AP) — The former CEO of the Italian defense giant Finmeccanica was freed Saturday from jail pending his trial on corruption charges next month.

Giuseppe Orsi, who was held for some 80 days in pre-trial detention, faces charges for his alleged involvement in the payment of bribes to secure a 560 million euro ($670 million) deal to sell 12 helicopters to India.

A speedy trial for Orsi, who was head of the Agusta helicopter division at the time of the deal, and his Agusta successor Bruno Spagnoli, opens June 19. Spagnoli, meanwhile, was released from house arrest Saturday.

Prosecutors allege that the kickbacks were part of the company's philosophy. India also is investigating the deal, and has put future deliveries on hold.

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Orsi, who has denied any wrongdoing, was replaced as Finmeccanica CEO after his arrest. He left jail without speaking to reporters, but his lawyer issued a statement expressing confidence that the trial will show that Orsi was working to bring transparency to the state-controlled company.