Milan: The town of Sesto Calende is about an hour's drive from Milan, but it lacks the fashionable glamour of Milan, or the quaint charm of Italian countryside villages.
And yet, Sesto Calende has landed its 15 minutes of fame.
This is where Italian defence giant Finmeccanica is headquartered, turning it into the capital of a massive new scandal centered on multi-national corruption.
Last week, Giuseppe Orsi, then CEO of Finmeccanica, was arrested from here for allegedly paying kickbacks in Italy and abroad. Italian investigators say that in India, the 67-year-old, spent Rs 360 crore to bribe officials to land a contract for 12 helicopters made by AgustaWestland, an Anglo-Italian venture.
Mr Orsi has denied the charges.
His home is located on a busy main street, within a block of indistinguishable flats. Not the sort of home you'd expect for one of the most powerful men in Italy.
Claudio del Frate, writer for a major newspaper in Italy, says Mr Orsi's low profile was an aberration. "In Italy, the businessmen are very flamboyant, they own football clubs or fashion houses and are known for their lifestyle, but Orsi is not like that.'' He added, "You don't expect to find such important manager living in a town like this with a building that doesn't even have a swimming pool.''
The flat's fanciest feature may be a simple terrace garden. It's not even a penthouse.
Mr Orsi lived here with his wife; their two children are grown up. There is no name-plate for the couple. Neighbours are reluctant to speak about the scandal.
"We haven't seen her for a few days,'' says a lady walking her dog, when we ask her about Mr Orsi's wife.
Others say Mr Orsi was not particularly well-known locally. That will change as the proceedings in court continue against him.
Story first published:
February 18, 2013 21:46 IST