The head of Italian defence group Finmeccanica was arrested on Tuesday in a corruption probe centred on the sale of helicopters to the Indian government, a judicial source said.
Earlier a report on the online version of Corriere della Sera newspaper said Finmeccanica Chief Executive and Chairman Giuseppe Orsi had been arrested for bribes allegedly paid to secure the sale of 12 helicopters to India.
A spokesman for Finmeccanica was not immediately able to comment.
The source said that three other people had been placed under house arrest as part of the probe, including the Chief Executive of Finmeccanica helicopter unit AgustaWestland, Bruno Spagnolini.
Orsi has always denied wrongdoing over a corruption probe looking at a 560 million euro ($749.2 million) Indian helicopter contract.
State-controlled Finmeccanica has previously said it has always done business in India through official channels.
Italy's corporate class has been shaken recently by a series of corruption cases, notably a derivatives scandal at Banca Monte dei Paschi and an alleged bribery case involving oil service group Saipem.
The latest series of scandals have become an issue in Italy's campaign for parliamentary elections to be held on February 24-25.