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India poised to recover €278 million from VVIP helicopter deal

New Delhi will take steps to recover €278 million ($380 million) in bank guarantees and performance bonds related to its cancelled acquisition of 12 AgustaWestland AW101 VVIP helicopters.

Following a ruling by a Milan court on 23 May, India’s defence ministry says its claims have been “substantially upheld”. New Delhi is now studying the ruling, after which it says it will take “immediate steps to recover the amounts fully”.

The announcement follow’s India’s cashing of two bank guarantees in February amounting to approximately €30 million.

AgustaWestland International Ltd (AWIL) and AgustaWestland Spa have also been ordered to reimburse legal costs to the Indian government.

Responding to the court’s decision, AgustaWestland says it “will assert its rights to recover the aforesaid amounts in the arbitration process already initiated”. It refuses to comment on the current status of arbitration proceedings.

The airframer had earlier confirmed that the court of Milan had revoked the emergency interim ruling it had obtained in March. That ruling had prohibited, as a preventive measure, payment to India of collateral worth over €278 million already deposited in relation to the contract.

India terminated the €556 million AW101 contract with AWIL in January 2014, on charges that the provisions of the pre-contract integrity pact and terms of the contract had been breached by the company.

The contract for the acquisition of 12 AW101 VVIP helicopters was signed in 2010. Three aircraft from this total were delivered to the Indian air force before the deal was terminated.

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