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Chopper deal: ‘Two steps’ to cover up kickbacks

The bribe money in the AgustaWestland deal was code-named ‘Two Steps’ by a senior official of Agusta, Renzo Lunardi, and American-Italian middleman Guido Haschke to camouflage the kickbacks paid to secure the VVIP helicopter deal.

Published: 16th February 2013 07:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th February 2013 03:44 PM   |  A+A-

The bribe money in the AgustaWestland deal was code-named ‘Two Steps’ by a senior official of Agusta, Renzo Lunardi, and American-Italian middleman Guido Haschke to camouflage the kickbacks paid to secure the VVIP helicopter deal.

“The only one who knew about ‘Two Steps’ was him...Lunardi knows the amount. We together made that piece of paper,” Haschke told AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini, which is part of the Italian prosecutors’ report.

He also said no one in AW was aware about the deal, as  ‘Two steps’ was routed through Tunisia. Spagnolini told Haschke in a conversation that he didn’t know the kickbacks amount until they had lunch together after the deal was through. “I only spoke to you, Mr. Orsi and Lunardi,” Haschke told Spagnolini.

In a conversation intercepted by Italian investigators, Haschke said he is not directly linked to AgustaWestland and that it was a secret operation. On being asked by Agusta legal office employee Digennaro Fancesso if he was workingfor any other subsidiaries of Finmeccanica, Haschke said he did a small job for the firm Alenia but was not formally linked to it.

Haschke assured the CEO that there was nothing which may directly link him (Haschke) to AgustaWestland and consequently to Finmeccanica.  Haschke also asked if they should call Christian Michel, the British middleman who allegedly received 30 million Euros, to discuss the media expose. Spagnolini refused and warned Haschke not to contact him. Interestingly, the Italian investigators’ report reveals that Spagnolini, who was earlier interrogated on November 26, 2011, had flatly denied any criminal angle to the VVIP deal, saying no mediators were involved in the procurement.

He showed a list of documents, including the contract signed on February 8 2010 between AgustaWestland International Ltd (UK) and the Indian Ministry of Defence, a sub-contract between AgustaWestland International Ltd and Agustawestland Spa and export licences and invoices from Agusta Spa addressed to AgustaWestland International Ltd. Spagnolini told interrogators: “I did not carry any documents regarding eventual consulting or mediation contracts, as there isn’t any, given that they are forbidden by Indian law for all supplies.”

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