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Originally published Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 1:50 AM

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Finmeccanica CEO arrested in corruption probe

Italian police on Tuesday arrested the chief executive of Italy's largest defense and aerospace group as part of an investigation into alleged international corruption.

The Associated Press

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MILAN —

Italian police on Tuesday arrested the chief executive of Italy's largest defense and aerospace group as part of an investigation into alleged international corruption.

Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi is alleged to have paid (EURO)500 million ($670 million) in bribes for the sale of 12 helicopters to the government of India. Prosecutors in the Busto Arsizio north of Milan ordered a search of Orsi's home, as well as the headquarters of Finmeccanica's AgustaWestland helicopter division.

Authorities also ordered the house arrest of AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini.

Finmeccanica, which is 30-percent government owned and once considered a jewel among Italian companies, said in a statement that the company will continue operating as usual and expressed support for the executives. The statement called the measures against Orsi and Spagnolini `'precautionary."

Orsi has repeatedly denied paying any bribes.

The company and its executives have been the target of a wide-ranging investigation into alleged corruption in the awarding of international contracts. Orsi replaced the former CEO who resigned under government pressure.

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