Stockholm, Jun 18: Sweden's anti-corruption authorities said today they had launched an inquiry into the Swedish Maritime Administration's 2012 purchase of seven rescue helicopters from Italian maker AgustaWestland.
"I can confirm that I have launched a preliminary investigation," anti-corruption prosecutor Robert Engstedt said, refusing to disclose further details. A Swedish television programme, Uppdrag Granskning (Assignment Investigation), reported in April that the deal between government agency SMA and AgustaWestland, worth $120 million (108 million euros), was sewn up in advance of a public tender, which is illegal in Sweden.
It alleged that the 2012 deal was set up through private emails on Hotmail accounts directly between management at the two organisations. The SMA said Swedish police had raided their offices early Wednesday, seizing documents and IT material.
"We welcome the authorities' initiative and are collaborating with the authorities to swiftly provide all the material requested," it said in a statement. AgustaWestland is owned by Italian group Finmeccanica. Last year, India cancelled a 556-million-euro deal to buy 12 luxury helicopters from AgustaWestland after Italian investigators began looking into accusations that the company paid bribes to win the contract in 2010.