Italy Opposition Seeks Finmeccanica Probe, Chairman’s Ouster
by Marco Bertacche and Chiara Vasarri, Bloomberg (excerpts)
Italian opposition politicians called for a parliamentary probe into Finmeccanica SpA (FNC) (parent company of Honolulu Rail contractor Ansaldo) and for its chairman to resign, as newspapers print leaked information linking the state-controlled defense company to an inquiry into a prostitution ring.
Chairman Pier Francesco Guarguaglini “needs to go,” Elio Lannutti, a senator with the opposition Italian Values party, said today. “The longer he stays the more he damages Italy.” Lannutti also joined other opposition parties in calling for a parliamentary investigation into the company’s activities.
Italian newspapers over the past week have printed leaked excerpts of wiretaps made by investigators in Bari and Naples probing (suspected pimp Gianpaolo) Tarantini’s network and outlining his attempts to win business with Finmeccanica units through meetings with executives. The authenticity of the transcripts was confirmed by a person involved in the investigation.
While Finmeccanica hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing, commercial director Paolo Pozzessere on Sept. 15 offered to “step aside from his role until all relevant issues are clarified,” according to a statement from the company. Pozzessere “categorically denies any wrongdoing of any kind,” according to the statement. Salvatore Metrangolo, president of Finmeccanica’s SSI unit, resigned.
(September 15? That was six days after Ansaldo gave a video conference presentation to Don Horner and the other geniuses on HART. The SA said Horner was “pleased, comforted and impressed”. We hear Berlusconi is too.)
“The picture, of compromises, scandals and corruption emerging from national newspapers on Finmeccanica’s activities is mind-boggling and unacceptable,” Aldo Di Biagio, a member of parliament from the opposition Future and Liberty party, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. His party plans to present a bill to set up a parliamentary commission to probe state-controlled companies.
A consultant to the company was last year named in a probe into slush funds. Finmeccanica, which wasn’t the subject of that investigation, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and said it never set aside illegal funds.
The company also said July 22 that Guarguaglini was notified of a request by a prosecutor to extend an inquiry. Guarguaglini said today that he was never questioned in the probe.
Marina Grossi, chief executive officer of Finmeccanica’s SELEX Sistemi Integrati unit and Guarguaglini’s wife, is also being probed in a Rome investigation for alleged fiscal fraud linked to contracts with Italy’s air-traffic control agency ENAV. She has denied any wrongdoing. Italy owns about 32 percent of Finmeccanica.
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“If something goes haywire, say so.” – Sen Dan Inouye, August 25, 2011