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CEO of Italian Satellite Firm Arrested in Corruption Probe

Jan. 10, 2013 - 02:21PM   |  
By TOM KINGTON   |   Comments
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ROME — The CEO of a unit under Italian defense group Finmeccanica has been arrested on suspicion of seeking to rig Naples police department public contracts, following a five-year investigation.

Carlo Gualdaroni, CEO of satellite services firm Telespazio, was arrested Jan. 8. Gualdaroni used to head Finmeccanica unit Elsag Datamat, which won contracts to provide Naples police with surveillance systems.

Those contracts have been under investigation for at least five years, according to a Finmeccanica statement, and Elsag Datamat has since been folded into Finmeccanica’s Selex unit.

Gualdaroni was CEO of Elsag Datamat at the time of the alleged wrongdoing. Other managers working for Elsag Datamat at the time are also being investigated, while a former Naples police chief has been placed under house arrest pending the conclusion of the probe. Arrests were made by Italy’s tax police force, the Guardia di Finanza.

Details of the probe and the arrests were given in a statement issued by the magistrates running the probe.

In a statement, Finmeccanica rejected the notion that any wrong doing had been committed at group level.

“The investigation, opened over five years ago, concerns a specific activity carried out by two group firms, Elsag Datamat and Electron and do not involve the holding company Finmeccanica or the whole group,” it said.

The arrest is the latest in a series of probes into alleged corruption at Finmeccanica firms. A Finmeccanica spokesman said that Gualdaroni’s reponsibilities at Telespazio would be carried out by the firm’s director general while he was under arrest.

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