Chopper scam: More details on kickbacks to ‘family’ emerge from Christian Michel’s correspondence

Haschke had confirmed to the Italian authorities that a 'compensation' of 11,000 Euros per month was made by Michel for 2 months to the 'family'.

Fresh details have emerged on the kickbacks paid to the ‘family’ in the letters written by  AugustaWestland’s middleman Christian Michel. According to reports, the communication between Michel and another middleman, Italian Guido Haschke, reveals the extent of the involvement of the ‘family’.

The details of a communication between Michel and Haschke on August 11, 2009, shared with the CBI by the Swiss authorities state that Michel had flagged a ‘problem’ with his dealing of the ‘family’ with Haschke.

As per a report by Economic Times, Michel had written to Haschke, “The game is not over yet. There are still pieces to be moved”. He had also reportedly mentioned the ‘lack of support’ by the family.

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Michel had also written that there is a ‘virulent response’ from the Finance Secretary who was stating that the Russians were wrongly excluded from the deal. The time period of the correspondence indicates that at that time the AgustaWestland deal was at the phase of cost determination after the Contract Negotiation Committee had proposed 552 million Euros in February 2009.

In the correspondence, Michel also reportedly confirms a monthly payment being made to the ‘family’. It is notable here that Haschke had confirmed to the Italian authorities that a ‘compensation’ of 11,000 Euros per month was made by Michel for 2 months to the ‘family’.

However, in that particular correspondence, Michel had reportedly shared, “If we had taken their (family) advice, we would be dead in the water.” He had compared Haschke’s plans with the ‘family’ to ‘arranging deck chairs on the Titanic’ and had added that no more payments will be made to them until the deal has been formalised. The ended with, “Not much point in discussing this now. Let us try and save the deal.”

Reports have stated that other accessed documents by the CBI refer to kickbacks being mentioned against ‘family and ‘AP’. The kickbacks were given to ‘family’ reportedly add up to Rs 184 crores as per the then exchange values. One of the incriminating documents being examined by the CBI reportedly reads, “One agreement EUR 42 million with the team and the other for EUR 28 million (not less than 5% of the total contract value) with the family…The family want their agreement honoured.”

Some reports say that Haschke had stated that the ‘family’ in the documents refer to the Tyagi family, referring to the then Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi and his family members. However, the documents are dated 2009, which is 2 years after SP Tyagi had retired from his post. Many also believe that it refers to the Gandhi family and ‘AP’ means Ahmed Patel.
Michel’s past correspondences with other individuals also mention Sonia Gandhi by name, as the ‘driving force behind the VIPs’.

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