CBI probing payments made to middleman for no work in Agusta

  • Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 20, 2016 01:02 IST
AugustaWestland employee walks inside a hangar at the headquarters in Vergiate, northern Italy. (Reuters)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing the multi-million Euro payments made by the UK-based AgustaWestland to middleman Christian Michel after the chopper contract was signed in 2010.

The payments began around three weeks after the deal was signed in February 2010, to Michel’s Global Services

FZE and Global Trade & Commerce Ltd as per the contracts with the choppers’ maker AW Limited, said a source in the CBI.

The pact with Global Services was on March 1, 2010 while with the Global Trade it concluded on May 26 same year, according to CBI’s case papers. The source said, “The payments were made in lieu of no work actually.”

The AW Limited bagged the February 8, 2010 contract to supply 12 choppers for Rs 3,727 crore allegedly by roping in middlemen like Michel and funneling up to Rs 360 crore for a bribe payment to swing the deal in India, said the source.

“It is suspected that the AW Limited paid a huge sum as commission to Christian Michel to help create an enabling atmosphere in India in the name of provision of various logistical services via contracts,” said the source.

“The job of AW’s three European middlemen, including Michel, was to ensure the reduction of the contract’s technical requirement, on the chopper’s optimum flying capacity, to 4,500m from 6,000m,” said the source.

Among the Michel-AW Limited contracts that were aimed at camouflaging the commission paid under the CBI scanner is the March 2010 contract. The March 1, 2010 contract between Michel’s Global Services FZE and the AW Limited was signed to provide various services by the former connected to the “execution of the VVIP choppers 2010 deal with India,” said the source.

But there was a catch here, which got CBI’s attention, he said. The services were to be provided three years after the 2010 chopper deal, he said.

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