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India halts payments to Finmeccanica in chopper scandal

Published on Feb 14, 2013 11:26 PM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India said Thursday it has suspended payments to an Italian company pending the outcome of an inquiry into whether a US$748 million (S$ 924 million) helicopter contract was won through kickbacks.

The government has "put on hold all further payments" to Finmeccanica's AgustaWestland helicopter unit until the inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is completed, a defence ministry statement said.

The CBI investigation into alleged bribery of Indian government officials by Finmeccanica was announced on Tuesday after the head of the Italian aerospace giant was arrested in Rome.

Italian media reports said the company's chairman and chief executive Giuseppe Orsi has been detained as part of an investigation into alleged bribes paid to Indian government officials.

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