Rome: (AFP) Italy's highest court has suspended a sentence handed earlier this year to the former boss of aerospace and defence group Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi, for false accounting and corruption in connection with the sale of 12 luxury helicopters to India, Italian media reported.
The decision yesterday came after both the defence and the prosecution had requested a suspension, on grounds that the Milan appeals court's sentence in April differed too greatly from an earlier ruling.
In April, Orsi was sentenced to four-a-half-years years in jail for false accounting and corruption. Also handed a four-year jail term on the same charges was Bruno Spagnolini, former head of AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica. The pair had been sentenced to two years in prison in October 2014 for false accounting.
The court of cassation has referred the case back to the appeals tribunal. Italian media believe that the case will be closed when the statute of limitation expires in March 2017. The case against Orsi and Spagnolini resulted from an investigation launched in 2012 into the sale of 12 luxury helicopters to India's government.
Orsi was arrested in 2014 and resigned as chief executive of the aerospace group a short while later. India cancelled the deal with AgustaWestland in January 2014 amid allegations that the company paid bribes to win the 556-million-euro (USD 753 million) contract.
The aborted deal was a severe setback for Finmeccanica, having already been hammered by the global financial crisis.