Christian James Michel, middleman wanted in AgustaWestland scam, being deported to India: report

Christian James Michel, a British middleman wanted by Indian investigative agencies in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, has been taken to the Dubai International Airport to extradite him to India, Khaleej Times has reported.

On 19 November Dubai’s top court ordered upheld a lower court order which said that Michel could be extradited. Michel was kept under detention at the police’s Criminal Investigation Department Khaleej Times has reported.

The representatives of the Indian government were in Dubai for the past few days completing legal formalities for Michel’s extradition.

As per the Indian government’s request, he will be extradited later on Tuesday reported Khaleej Times.

The extradition procedure happens in coordination with the Interpol and the CID.

The development has come when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is in UAE on official visit.

India officially requested UAE to extradite Michel in 2017. The Enforcement Directorate filed chargesheet against Michel in June 2016 which accused of receiving EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.

According to the chargesheet the money was “kickbacks” paid by the AgustaWestland to execute the 12 helicopter deal in favour of the firm in “guise of” genuine transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.

Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.

The CBI alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (approximately Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.

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