According to a report by Times of India, the CBI has learnt that AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel made several transfers to London-based accounts when India was preparing for his extradition. The agency believes that Michel transferred the ‘unused bribe’ money for AgustaWestland to the UK. A request has been made with the British authorities to seek information regarding these transfers.
According to the report, the agency claims that Michel was paid 42.27 million euros (approximately Rs 300 crore) by AgustaWestland to further pay Indian politicians as well as defence personnel, a major chunk of which is untraceable. As per the report, while Michel brought huge amount of cash to India, he still had a lot of it in bank accounts of his two companies, Global Services FZE, Dubai and Global Trade and Commerce Services, London. When the Indian authorities were pursuing his case and closing in on him, Michel perhaps realised that it is a matter of time before the Indian authorities get him and hence, he made several transfers to the accounts in the UK.
Michel was extradited to India on 4 December from United Arab Emirates (UAE). Recently it was also unearthed that, Christian Michel’s involvement was not only restricted to AgustaWestland scam. He had also lobbied against France-based Rafale in order to enable Eurofighter, its rival, to grab the MMRCA deal. On 5th January, the Patiala House Court had extended Michel’s judicial custody till February 26.
Christian Michel is accused of money laundering, bribery, and fraud in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore worth AgustaWestland scam.
There have been some big revelations made in the ongoing investigation after Christian Michel was extradicted. Earlier, it was reported that son of a senior Congress leader had arranged kickbacks and that Michel may be charged under the Official Secrets Act. During the investigation, cryptic names like “Mrs Gandhi”, “Italian Lady’s Son R” and AP (which might be Ahmed Patel) were also revealed. It was also found that Christian Michel was in India several times and he was also lobbying against the Rafale deal in India and for the Eurofighter deal during the Congress regime.