Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica's former chief Giuseppe Orsi has been sentenced by the Milan appeals court to 4.5 years in jail for false accounting and corruption in the sale of 12 VVIP choppers to India for over Rs 3,600 crore.
In the ruling, which overtured a previous court order of 2014 that had given Orsi reprieve in connection with the corruption angle, former CEO of Finmeccanica's helicopter subsidiary AgustaWestland, Bruno Spagnolini, was also handed a four-year prison term by the court on Thursday.
The court found both guilty of corruption in relation to the sale of 12 helicopters to the Indian government and sentenced Orsi to a jail term of four and a half years, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
Prosecutors had requested jail terms of six years and five years for Orsi and Spagnolini, respectively, it said. The ruling has come as a severe blow to the Italian company which had just managed to leave the corruption saga behind that marred its image across the world.
Though Finmeccanica has refused to say anything on the ruling saying it pertained to former executives, top company officials told PTI that the firm "has changed completely".
"The company has undergone deep changes and it has changed completely from the time when the allegations came up first. Finmeccanica is a different company now," an official said. "Finmeccanica since then has changed its top management and its organisation."
The official added that Italian judicial system is made of three appeals and the trial is against two former executives. The lawyers of both the accused have said that they will go in for an appeal.
The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate are still probing the case in India in which former Indian Air Force chief S P Tyagi and his cousins are alleged to be the beneficiaries.
The ED has booked Tyagi, his family members, European nationals -- Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, four firms -- Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland and Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia, few other firms and unknown persons as per CBI's criminal complaint.