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DRS Technologies’ parent company is at the center of corruption probe in Italy

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In 2008, it bought the U.S. military contractor DRS Technologies Inc. in a $5.2 billion deal that Finmeccanica sought to boost its role as a key supplier of defense and security systems.

Monti urges ‘rapid’ resolution to corruption probe

Colleen Barry – (AP Business Writer) – MILAN – November 23, 2011 -Italian Premier Mario Monti’s fledgling government was facing its first emergency on Wednesday, a spiraling corruption probe at state-controlled Finmeccanica, the country’s aerospace and engineering giant. A government official reportedly met with Finmeccanica’s chairman during the day. On Tuesday, Monti issued a statement calling for a “rapid and responsible solution” to the allegations that a slush fund was set up to pay off politicians who referred contracts to Finmeccanica.

Monti, who was in Brussels to meet with European Union officials, said he was following developments closely.

His office could not confirm news agency reports that Chairman Pier Francesco Guarguaglini met with Monti’s undersecretary, Antonio Catricala. But Monti said in a statement he would have the defense and economic development ministers ensure that the company is taking the necessary steps to address the scandal.

Finmeccanica is 30-percent controlled by the Italian Treasury, which is under the control of Monti, who also serves as finance minister.

Shares in Finmeccanica were trading down 3.32 percent at euro2.91 ($4) on Wednesday. They have shed 65 percent of their value in the last year.

The allegations, which have been swirling for weeks, have led to calls for Guarguaglini’s resignation. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Guarguaglini is under investigation for making false invoices, while his wife Marina Grossi, the CEO of the subsidiary Selex, is under investigation for creating false invoices and corruption.”The chairman of Finmeccanica, Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, states in no uncertain terms that he has never created illegal funds nor has he ever paid or ordered anyone to pay money to politicians or political parties,” said a statement released by Finmeccanica on Tuesday.

The probe being conducted by Rome prosecutors centers on accusations that Selex set up a system of false invoices created to evade taxes and used the proceeds to set up a euro2 million ($2.7 million) slush fund to pay off political go-betweens. The accusations involve contracts for Italy’s air traffic controllers body, ENAV.

Top politicians have been accused of receiving cash payments of up to euro200,000, which they denied.

The head of a small leftist party, Antonio Di Pietro, said it has been approached. “But we said ‘no’ because we refused to take part in divvying up the pie and condemn this corrupt system,” said Di Pietro, who as magistrate played a key role in the “Clean Hands” investigation of the early 1990s that took down the political class.

Over the weekend, the head of ENAV was placed under house arrest for allegedly illegally financing political parties. The head of sales at Selex, a technology company specializing in homeland defense including radar systems, also was placed under house arrest.

Finmeccanica is a global player in defense and aeronautics, which the Italian state would be loathe to see further damaged by the scandal. It employs more than 60,000 people worldwide and focuses on designing and manufacturing helicopters, civil and military aircraft, satellites, space infrastructure, missiles and defense electronics.

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3 Comments

  1. Comment by DoD Watch:

    FBO solicitations in Italy have as many corruption prevention measures as Camp Arifjans JCCI-USELESS regulations. Both are not followed and both do not prevent the DoD Corruption that plagues the U.S. Military Complex today.

    Interesting – Let’s see what deal will be struck. Where is the Debarment McCaskill? Too big to fail the FBI and Army will say. What’s new. Another double standard for a foreign corporation. Our Congress has failed. Too many campaign contributions lining their pockets.

    • Comment by Lovell Davis:

      The policy of DRS Technologies to maintain the highest level of professional and ethical conduct in there business affairs. They place the utmost importance upon our reputation for honesty, integrity and high standards (I do not think so). Their policies reaffirm the importance of the standards in our Code of Business Ethics and Conduct, including strict compliance with all laws – federal, state, local and international – (If this was really true). DRS is not following the Kuwait Labor Law and like most companies in Kuwait they closed their office in Kuwait and now have their office on the U.S. basecamps so that they cannot be served an court order to appear in the Kuwait courts.

  2. Comment by Intriped:

    Crooks in a suit.

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