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Christian Michel, the British businessman who probably knows too much

Christian Michel, the British businessman who probably knows too much”

Dubai government on Tuesday passed a formal order in the matter and allowed India to extradite Michel Christian in a multi-crore scam by the defence company Agusta Westland.

He is accused of acting as middleman organising bribes in exchange for a contract for VVIP helicopters.

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 goal of payment for service and consultancy contracts in 2010-11.

Michel's alleged involvement in the chopper deal surfaced in 2012 as a middleman for swinging the deal in favour of AgustaWestland and for making illegal payment of commissions or kickbacks to the Indian authorities, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.

In a big victory for the Modi government, the UAE has chose to extradite AgustaWestland scam accused Christian Michel.

The agency said his father Wolfgang Max Richard Michel was also a consultant of AgustaWestland (U.K.) for India during 1980s, besides other countries.

He has been alleged to be a "historical consultant" of the AgustaWestland helicopters in the United Kingdom with technical operational knowledge of the aircraft, the military bases and the pilots, the CBI spokesperson said in a statement. The other two accused by the agencies are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. Michel also allegedly paid off influential people in India, who helped reject Russian and American choppers.

The CBI on September 1, 2017, had filed a charge sheet in the case in which Michel was named as one of the accused. At least 12 phoney contracts were signed between his firms and AgustaWestland to legitimise approximately Rs 295 crore paid as kickbacks to secure the deal. AgustaWestland became eligible to supply the dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties after this change.

According to sources, James was a frequent visitor to India, operating as a middleman for defence procurements through a network of sources he had cultivated in the IAF and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) at different levels, including retired officials. Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him. Two years, Michel came in front of media and gave series of interviews to accuse Indian Government for targeting him for the political gains. Although he managed to wriggle out from the legal tussle in UAE, the CBI requested for extradition on 19 March 2017 through diplomatic channels.

A team lead by Joint CBI Director A. Sai Manohar had been to Dubai to extradite James, who has been avoiding criminal proceedings in India in AgustaWestland case.



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