UAE envoy says ‘personal touch’ in relations facilitated Christian Michel’s extradition to India

Published on Jan 29, 2019 06:30 PM IST

The extradition of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the multimillion-dollar AgustaWestland helicopter deal, from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to India was facilitated by “personal touch” in bilateral relations, the Gulf nation’s envoy Ahmed Al Banna said on Tuesday.

Christian Michel’s extradition from Dubai in December was seen by many as a notable win for the Indian government. The move was significant because Michel was a British national extradited to a third country.(PTI/File Picture)
Christian Michel’s extradition from Dubai in December was seen by many as a notable win for the Indian government. The move was significant because Michel was a British national extradited to a third country.(PTI/File Picture)
New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

The extradition of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the multimillion-dollar AgustaWestland helicopter deal, from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to India was facilitated by “personal touch” in bilateral relations, the Gulf nation’s envoy Ahmed Al Banna said on Tuesday.

The 57-year-old businessman’s extradition from Dubai in December was seen by many as a notable win for the Indian government. The move was significant because Michel was a British national extradited to a third country.

“We have very good collaboration and cooperation. We have signed an agreement in terms of dissemination of information and security collaboration,” Al Banna said during an interaction with reporters when asked about the extradition.

Michel’s extradition was held up for more than a year after he filed an appeal in UAE courts. The issue gained pace again last November when Dubai’s highest court, the Cassation Court, upheld an appellate court’s decision to extradite Michel though he pleaded not guilty.

At that stage, the matter needed approval from UAE’s justice minister. Al Banna said “things took a different direction (in the extradition) due to the close and strong relationship”.

The “close and strategic relationship and the personal touch in the relationship” is what “counts and that sometimes makes things that don’t happen in many years happen in one day”, he added.

Michel’s extradition in December had coincided with a visit to the UAE by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for a meeting of the bilateral Joint Commission.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Anil Dhasmana and India’s ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri, also played key roles in the process, officials had said at the time.

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