Dassault Aviation, the maker of Rafale fighter jets, has denied the report by French media outlet Mediapart, which had claimed that the company had paid a bribe of € 1.1 million to an Indian company. Dassault has said that no violations were reported in the sale of 36 Rafale jet to India in the government-to-government deal.
“Numerous controls are carried out by official organizations, including the French Anti-Corruption Agency. No violations were reported, notably in the frame of the contract with India for the acquisition of 36 Rafales,” the company said. The company also said that it “wishes to reiterate that it acts in strict compliance with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and national laws, in particular the law of December 9, 2016 known as Sapin 2”.
In a statement released on 8th April, Dassault Aviation said that it has “implemented strict internal procedures to prevent corruption, guaranteeing the integrity, ethics and reputation of the company in its industrial and commercial relations. In the context of the Sapin 2 law, the company has completed and strengthened its system for the prevention and detection of corruption and influence peddling, both at the level of the parent company and its subsidiaries.”
The company said that the contract with India for 36 Rafale jets, along with the corresponding offset contracts, meet the criteria established by these regulations and are being executed in full transparency between the various government and industrial partners.
The company also informed that Dassault Aviation and the Reliance Group established the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) Joint Venture in 2017 and built a plant in Nagpur that has been producing numerous Falcon parts and pieces since 2018. Falcon is a business jet manufactured by the French aviation giant.
The Mediapart report had said that French anti-corruption agency Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) had discovered that Dassault had paid one million euros to a middleman who is now under investigation in India in connection with another defence deal. According to the report, Dassault had clarified the payment saying that it paid to the Indian company to manufacture 50 large replica models of Rafale jets. The expenditure was reportedly shown under “Gifts to Clients” in Dassault accounts, implying that the models were ordered to give away as gifts to its clients.
Dassault had also provided the anti-corruption agency with invoices by Indian company Defsys Solutions against the supply of the models. However, the report claims that the company was unable to show proof of actually delivery of the models.
Defsys Solutions is owned by the family of Sushen Mohan Gupta, who was arrested by ED in 2019 for his involvement in kickbacks paid in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal. The company has also denied the claims of receiving money from Dassault without delivering anything, saying it received payment for making replicas of Rafale. “This is in response to wholly unsubstantiated, baseless and misleading claims appearing in certain sections of the media, insinuating that Defsys never supplied 50 replica models of Rafale aircraft,” the company said in a statement.
Defsys has also said that “Delivery challans, E-way bills and GST returns related to such delivery have been duly filed with the relevant authorities.”