AgustaWestland Scam: Middleman Christian Michel extradited to India, says CBI

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AgustaWestland Scam: Middleman Christian Michel extradited to India, says CBI

On the basis of this warrant, a Red Corner Notice was issued by the Interpol which led to his arrest in Dubai in February 2017, he said.

Seen as a big win for the Narendra Modi government, this is the first extradition the agency has been able to secure in the case.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Michel was questioned at the CBI headquarters for most parts of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and that he would be produced in Patiala House Court later in the day.

The central probe agency in a press note said the entire extradition operation was conducted under the guidance of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and coordination of interim CBI Director M. Nageswara Rao.

Given the sensitivity of the matter, James will be kept at the CBI headquarters and not be sent to judicial custody. It was a Rs 3,546 crore contract to supply 12 AW-101 helicopters to the IAF. He tracked movements of procurement related files and sent periodical reports for AgustaWestland, through contacts in Italy and Switzerland.

According to CBI, because of his expertise in engineering, James was a part of the conspiracy to reduce the flying height for the VIP helicopters from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres.

The sleuths probing into VVIP chopper scam have come across several such incidences to piece together solid evidence to prosecute the middlemen, who had allegedly swung the deal in favour of AgustaWestland. Among those arraigned were retired Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, his cousins, former Air Marshal J.S. Gujral, two other alleged middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, the then AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini, Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi and others. The letter was allegedly written by Michel to Peter Hulet, then India region sales and liaison head of AgustaWestland. "During the above meeting they had negotiated a comprehensive fees equal to 7% of the supply contract amount to cover the expenses and fees of both of them". "Mr. Michel's mother Valerie Fooks runs a trust in the name of Queda Educational Foundation, which is reportedly providing financial assistance to beneficiary students from India to advance their education in foreign countries", the CBI said. Months later on 1 September 2017, a charge sheet was filed against him and the trial court took cognizance of the offences on 11 October 2017.

The ED investigation found that remittances made by Michel through his Dubai-based firm Global Services to a media firm he floated in Delhi, along with two Indians, were made from the funds which he got from AgustaWestland through criminal activity and corruption being done in the chopper deal that led to the subsequent generation of proceeds of crime.

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