In the same month that Canada’s foreign minister has warned his country’s businessmen against bribery former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has justified the practice for Italian companies.
His statement followed the arrest and subsequent resignation of Giuseppe Orsi, the president of Finmeccanica accused of bribery in a deal with India.
Stories have been circulating for over a year, of similar deals in Panama which bought helicopters and radar installations from the country in transactions of some $250 million. At the time it was reported that Turkey had purchased more helicopters for less money, raising allegations about a black hole to skim off overcharges to finance bribes.
According to Joan Solés correspondent of the Prisa Group in Rome, Berslusconi’s statement that bribery was justified by Italy’s state enterprises, confirmed that during his tenure bribes were paid to foreign governments.
Solés on Friday, February 15 made a transmission for Radio Panama (part of Grupo Prisa), in which she emphasized that Berlusconi's statements given to the Italian state broadcaster, causing a stir in the country and a general rejection by the population, calling for changes in the operations of public corporations.
According to Berlusconi, for Finmeccanica companies to sell their products in any country they "must adapt to the conditions of the country", and the payment of bribes, according to him, is one of these.
"In democracies, there are normally only open deals. In countries where democracy is not perfect, there are other conditions that must be accepted. We calculated what we pay so much for the award, both for anyone, both to build a hospital or a school asked for by a president of a Republic with whom we are negotiating. It is not a crime. It involves paying bribes of that country, because it is the rule that country. If you do not want to pay bribes you stay at home and do not sell anything. The bribe is a phenomenon that exists. It is useless to deny it, "said the former prime minister, who said that challenges to these practices are simply" absurd moralism ".
So far been those arrested in addition to the president of the company are former commercial director Paolo Pozzessere, the CEO of Agusta Westland, Bruno Spagnolini and Valter Lavítola and Swiss intermediaries, Haschke and Carlo Guido Gerosa.
The journalist said that the cited research shows that Berlusconi's mandate would have paid bribes in Brazil, India, Colombia and Russia, while in the case of Panama, which bought 19 radars, six helicopters and a digital cartographic map Finmeccanica for $ 250 million in 2010, has not been proven disbursement of bribes, though some of those arrested in the case, say there was.
"What happened when Berlusconi sent his pupil Lavítola to do business in Panama? I think Berlusconi's own statements clarify many ideas," said Solés.
"The worst is that Mr. Berlusconi, one of the richest men in the world, confuses ie moralism with ethics, and is a perfect unscrupulous liar when he says that moral or ethics cannot be adopted when being an entrepreneur, " she said.
She said that the investigations into alleged international corruption by Finmeccanica continue in Rome and a trial date has not yet been set, but then the truth will come out including Panama.
In the Attorney's Office in Rome the investigation remains open into the alleged payment of bribes to Panamanian officials in negotiations for the construction of modular prisons in the country, which, did, not materialize.