Berlusconi: Bribes Are Part of Doing Business
Day, Michael, The Independent (London, England)
Ex-Italian PM backs defence firm accused of illegal payments in India helicopter contract
Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister who is standing for election this month, has told a television audience that paying bribes to win big contracts is an acceptable part of international business.
The three-time prime minister and billionaire dismissed as "facile moralism" criticism aimed at senior executives at the Italian defence giant Finmeccanica, who are accused of making illegal payments to win helicopter deals with India. His comments came just before the Indian government confirmed it had put on hold a 560m (480m) contract to buy helicopters from Finmeccanica as a result of the allegations.
The Indian Defence Ministry has begun its own investigation after the Italian company's chief executive, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested in Milan on Tuesday and charged with bribery. Mr Orsi yesterday formally submitted his resignation as CEO of the company. In his letter to the Finmeccanica board, he denied wrongdoing, saying he always worked "for the exclusive interest of Finmeccanica and its subsidiaries".
Despite a conviction for tax fraud in October that relates to overseas slush funds held by his media empire, Mr Berlusconi, 75, is currently leading a right-wing alliance in the general election campaign. "If you practise this moralism you can't be a businessman at the …
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Publication information: Article title: Berlusconi: Bribes Are Part of Doing Business. Contributors: Day, Michael - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: February 16, 2013. Page number: 28. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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