NEW DELHI: At a time when IDS Tunisia decided to sign a fake contract for bogus projects with IDS India to launder the VVIP chopper kickback money, ex-CEO of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi made a secret trip to India.
According to sources privy to the AgustaWestland probe, Orsi landed in India on an Air France flight on February 12, 2009. The investigators were startled by the fact that the same day Swiss middleman Guido Haschke, who apparently orchestrated the contracts, landed in Delhi on Lufthansa Flight 762 from Munich. IDS Tunisia and IDS India were used by Agusta’s middlemen to route the bribe money.
Did Orsi help the middlemen create fake companies in India to launder the kickbacks?
Sources privy to the investigation said Orsi, who has been convicted and sentenced to jail, played an active role in setting up fake companies to camouflage the slush fund.
The sources said days before Haschke joined the board of Aeromatrix — another Indian firm created to channel the slush fund — he allegedly met Sanjeev Tyagi, cousin of ex-IAF chief S P Tyagi and accused in the case being probed by CBI and ED, in Munich.
Sources confirmed that both Haschke and Sanjeev Tyagi returned to India on September 16, 2009, from Munich by Lufthansa Flight 762. On February 29, 2009, Haschke was nominated on the board of Aeromatrix.
Sources tracking the money transactions have found Orsi’s footprints in India. When middlemen decided to merge IDS India and transfer the business to Aeromatrix in late 2009 and early 2010, Orsi again landed in Delhi. Sources confirmed he arrived on January 12, 2010, and stayed for three days. Just four days after Orsi left, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the Contract Negotiation Committees’ proposal. Orsi returned on February 12, 2010, and days later AgustaWestland signed a contract with Global Service FZE, created by UK middleman Christian Michel to channelise the slush fund. Following the contract with Global Service FZE, several meetings were held between AgustaWestland officials and middlemen in Lugano, Switzerland, and Dubai, the epicentre Michel’s activities. The Agusta bribery case players held a meeting in Delhi and one such meeting was attended by Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO of AgustaWestland who has been convicted and sentenced for four years in jail.
A source revealed Bruno along with Orsi, left for Zurich after the meeting on November 2, 2011, by Swiss International Airlines Flight 147. “Evidence shows Orsi was holding meetings with Agusta middlemen frequently and perhaps assisted in routing the bribe money by creating the fake companies and signing contracts with them for fake projects to make it legit. We may request access to Orsi with Italian authorities to probe this net,” the source added.
CBI grills tyagi on bribery angle
The CBI on Monday subjected ex-IAF chief S P Tyagi (pic) to sustained grilling in the AgustaWestland helicopter scam with renewed focus on the bribery angle in the wake of the Milan court order in which his name also figured.