NEW DELHI — Italian company AgustaWestland said Friday it will invoke arbitration over the scandal-plagued $720 million sale of AW101 helicopters to India.
AgustaWestland likely will seek arbitration through an Indian court, though no executive of the company would say what their next step would be.
The Indian government halted the contract to buy 12 AW101 helicopters earlier this year after Giuseppe Orsi, then CEO of AgustaWestland parent company Finmeccanica, was arrested in Italy and charged with paying bribes to secure the Indian deal while he was CEO of AgustaWestland. New Delhi stopped payments on the contract and referred the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The corruption charges are under investigation separately in Italy and India.
In a news release, AgustaWestland said on Oct. 4 it was invoking “arbitration on the scandal on the sale of helicopters to the Indian government.”
The suspension of the payments does not respect the terms of the contract, according to the statement, and the Indian Ministry of Defence has not responded to the company’s requests since April.
Sitanshku Kar, Indian MoD spokesman, refused to comment on the decision of the Italian company.
India contracted the deal to buy 12 AW101 helicopters for $720 million in 2010.