AgustaWestland scam: UAE court orders extradition of alleged middleman Christian Michel to India

FP Staff
After a Dubai court issued a non-bailable warrant against alleged AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel, both the Enforcement Directorate and CBI issued an Interpol Red Corner Notice against him.

A Dubai court on Tuesday ordered the extradition of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the controversial AgustaWestland chopper scam, to India.

Michel, a British national, was arrested in UAE last year and has been facing extradition proceedings.

On 1 January, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks of Rs 423 crore paid by it to secure the deal. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged that money was laundered through multiple foreign companies which were used as fronts to park alleged kickbacks.

In July, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) refuted the allegation made by Michel's lawyer that Michel was being put under pressure by Indian and UAE authorities to give a confession and name Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in his statement.

"Christian Michel was arrested in February 2017 by the UAE authorities. He was not arrested this year as claimed by his defence lawyer. CBI team has neither examined the fugitive in the UAE nor influenced him to extract confession. The extradition proceedings against the fugitive is going on in the UAE and request for extradition is being followed up," CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal told PTI on the allegations.

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

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