New Delhi: Italian company Finmeccanica's business is not limited to just helicopters. Its subsidiary AgustaWestland has been in India since the 1970s and has presence in many sectors. If the CBI examines the helicopter deal then AgustaWestland's other businesses in India too will come under investigation.
Finmeccanica's business is spread over more than 100 countries and the Italian government holds 30 per cent stake in the company. Finmeccanica also has large business interest in India.
Finmeccanica's subsidiaries have bagged contracts worth thousands of crores of rupees from the Indian government and have huge presence in many sectors. These companies are SELEX Galileo, Ansaldo STS and AgustaWestland.
In 2012, SELEX Gallileo has signed a deal with the Indian Navy for 21 million pounds and was given the contract for the maintenance of naval aircraft yard in Kochi. Ansaldo STS is a multinational technology company which produces signalling and automation systems for use by rail and rapid transit operators. Ansaldo STS is headquartered in Genoa, Italy and Finmeccanica has 40 per cent take in the company. The company has 240 employees in India and sources say that Ansaldo STS had captured 60 per cent market share in the railway signal market.
AgustaWestland is an helicopter design and manufacturing company, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Finmeccanica and has been in India since 1970s. It has joint venture with Tata Sons by the name of Indian Rotokraft in which the Tata group has 74 per cent share. Under the joint venture the company makes and sells AW 119 helicopter. The company has sold 40 such helicopters in India. The eight-seater helicopter is used by business houses and some state governments have also bought the flying machines.
Finmeccanica is known for hiring influential and powerful people. According to the documents available with IBN7, Finmeccanica has appointed a former defence supplies minister and several officers after retirement. The purpose to hire these officers is to use their expertise in understanding the flaws of the system and to help the company win deals.
After the AgustaWestland helicopter deal with India was bagged, one the company official had sent the champagne bottle to its rival company with a message that 'you cannot win always', which perhaps showed how far Finmeccanica can go for a deal.
Finmeccanica has employed several retired officers from the British Ministry of Defence. Several retired British defence secretaries have been working for Finmeccanica. According to the sources several high profile former defence officials have helped AgustaWestland bag many deals.
IBN7 investigation shows that several officers after retiring from British government have joined Finmeccanica. One such officer is Baron Bach, who was Minister of Defence Procurement in former UK PM Tony Blair's government. Baron reportedly played a key role in getting Finmeccanica several contracts including the Future Lynx helicopter deal under which 70 helicopters were sold to Afghanistan. Bach also helped AgustaWestland get a 850 million pound contract for helicopters for the US President. In January 2007, Baron Bach was made a director at Finmeccanica.
IBN7 investigations how that AgustaWestland MD Alan Johnston has described Bach's work as exceptional. But US President Barack Obama later cancelled the deal.
Finmeccanica had also employed Kevin Tebbit, who was an under secretary in UK's Defence Ministry. Tebbit was employed after the Future Link Helicopter deal. Former British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon was also employed as a Senior Vice President by the company. A former UK security and intelligence coordinator, David Osmond, also joined Finmeccanica and British military forces commander in Iraq in 2003, Brian Burridge, became a Vice President of the company in 2006.