AgustaWestland deal 'middleman' Christian Michel brought to India

AgustaWestland scam: Christian Michel boards flight to India after Dubai passes extradition order

AgustaWestland scam: Christian Michel boards flight to India after Dubai passes extradition order

Dubai Government's Ministry of Justice's final order came on Tuesday after Michel lost his appeal in the apex court of Dubai against the deportation.

Christian Michel was among the alleged middlemen who had brokered the deal and who, investigators claim, paid bribes to officials and politicians to swing the contract in favour of AgustaWestland, the British arm of Italian firm Finmeccanica.

The CBI had filed its first chargesheet in the AgustaWestland scam in September 2017, in which it alleged that Christian Michel through his companies had received 42.27 million euros for the objective of payment for service and consultancy contracts in 2010-11.

Michel is one of the three middlemen being investigated by the ED and the CBI. Former Air Force chief SP Tyagi was also arrested over the allegations of reducing the flying ceiling of the helicopter to put AgustaWestland in the race. Indian agencies had an even tougher task, given that Michel was a United Kingdom national that India was seeking to extradite from a third country. On page 204 of the judgment, a 2008 letter seized from the home of middleman Haschke has been cited to argue in the court that key players were targeting top UPA leadership to swing the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal. He is likely to be produced before a Delhi court on December 5. Michel has alleged that the diaries were written by Guido Haschke, another alleged middleman and co-accused in the VVIP chopper scandal.

Michel has denied all the charges.

Over the past year and a half, diplomatic pressure was used at various levels to push for Michel's extradition.

"An open non-bailable arrest warrant dated September 24, 2015, was issued by the special judge, CBI cases, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi", he said.

AgustaWestland scam: Christian Michel boards flight to India after Dubai passes extradition order
British middleman in AgustaWestland scam being extradited to India

Mr. Michel was brought to New Delhi on board an Aviation Research Centre plane of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) at around 10.45 p.m. and escorted to the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters by a team of Delhi Police officials.

"Extradition proceedings were held before a UAE court against James... on 11 November 2018, the court of Dubai upheld the lower court's decision for extraditing James to India to face legal proceedings".

The CBI's extradition request was forwarded to the UAE authorities on March 19, 2017, through diplomatic channels.

A Red Corner Notice was issued against him in 2017.

"During the meeting, they had negotiated a comprehensive fee equal to 7 per cent of the supply contract amount", a source said.

Michel allegedly entered into 12 contracts through two of his firms - London-based Global Trade and Commerce and Dubai-based Global Services FZE - with Finmeccanica to camouflage and legitimise the alleged bribe received by him for clinching the deal, the CBI said.

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