Italy's stake in Aireon comes under fire

Italian prosecutors in Rome are conducting a probe into the US$61 million investment by the national air navigation service provider in the US-based industry consortium Aireon, developer of the world’s first space-based surveillance system.
ENAV in response to the allegations that it had established slush funds to finance the investment insisted it had acted in total transparency and in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as regards the investment via the holding company ENAV North Atlantic. It is cooperating with the prosecutors, it added.
It said ENAV North Atlantic was formed to hold and manage the business’ investment in Aireon LLC which was incorporated in the State of Delaware as a limited liability company in 2011 and is headquartered in the State of Virginia.
ENAV acquired an interest in Aireon from Iridium Satellite in 2014. The Aireon Satellite System will allow extensive surveillance of global air traffic routes, with particular focus on polar, oceanic and remote airspace that are not currently covered by existing radar-based air traffic control services and will enable 100 per cent coverage.
ENAV paid $61 million in four instalments from 2014 to 2017, of which two instalments have been paid to this date. Upon the payment of the last instalment, which is expected to take place by December 31, 2017, ENAV will have a total interest of 12.5 per cent.
In addition to ENAV North Atlantic, the following entities are also members of Aireon: NAV Canada Satellite, Inc. (which holds a 51 per cent interest), Iridium Satellite LLC (24.5 per cent), Naviair Surveillance A/S (6 per cent) and Irish Aviation Authority Ltd (6 per cent).
ENAV insists that companies that operate in the State of Delaware are subject to taxation according to the state and US federal laws and international treaties.
ENAV added that it had provided full disclosure on the transaction during legal due diligence performed during the IPO process and disclosed in the IPO Prospectus published on July 8, also in relation to the request for investigation made to the Court of Rome as disclosed in the supplement to the Prospectus published on July 19.
ENAV said it is confident that the full transparency and legitimacy of the investment in Aireon will be clarified, adding that it will be seeking compensation for the reputational and financial damage caused by the publication of false information in the press.