India, UK to cooperate on probing helicopter deal

India, Britain to cooperate in investigating bribery charges in Finmeccanica copter deal

Associated Press
India, UK to cooperate in probing helicopter deal
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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, right, and British Prime Minister David Cameron shake hands before a meeting in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. On his second visit to Britain's former colony, Cameron led a delegation of more than 100 British CEOS and investors and stopped first in Mumbai, India's financial capital. Responding to Indian complaints of barriers to their own entry, Cameron on Monday announced a same-day British business visa service for Indian investors and said there was "no limit" to Indian student visas, as long as they had been accepted to a British school. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India and Britain agreed Tuesday to work together to investigate any possible wrongdoing by a British company involved in a major deal to sell helicopters to India that has been clouded by charges of kickbacks and bribes.

Visting British Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would respond to any request for information on the deal by the Italian firm Finmeccanica and its British subsidiary, AgustaWestland. Under the deal, the companies were to sell 12 helicopters to India.

"In Britain we have introduced anti-bribery legislation that is probably the strongest anywhere in the world. And we will root out any problems of bribery or corruption wherever they appear, and whenever they appear," Cameron told reporters.

The helicopter deal threatened to overshadow Cameron's visit, which he had hoped to use to boost trade and investment in the areas of energy, infrastructure, insurance, banking and retail.

Cameron said he was accompanied by Britain's largest trade delegation ever, and that his country was on track to double trade between the two countries by 2015.

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