The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached a property located in Paris belonging to Christian Michel’s ex-wife, AugustaWestland VVIP chopper scam accused. The property attached under the Provisions of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is worth nearly Rs 5.83 crore, Indian Express reported.
Christian Michel is being probed by the ED for his connection to the Rs 36,000 crore AugustaWestland scam, where he is alleged to have received kickbacks. A part of the kickback received by Michel was also allegedly transferred to his ex-wife Valerie Michel.
In a statement ED said, “the Enforcement Directorate has attached an immovable property in France, which belongs to Christian Michel’s ex-wife Valerie Michel, who has also received Proceeds of the Crime from the accused.” “The name of the property is M/s SCI Solaime and is located at 45 Avenue Victor Hugo, Paris,” the statement added.
Michel was extradited to India from UAE in December 2018 and ED arrested him thereafter for his alleged role in influencing politicians and bureaucrats to swing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland.
The ED statement added that “Investigation has revealed that Christian Michel was a middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal and he even received kickbacks of around 42 million euro.” During the investigation by ED, they noticed that fund were transferred to various entities across the world through Dubai based companies. The statement further revealed, “Christian Michel James transferred the amount he received as a kickback to the various entities – this includes Euro 922,185.76, which he transferred to his ex-wife Valerie, which was later used to buy M/s SCI Solaime,” the immovable property that the ED attached in Paris.
According to the investigation by ED and (Central Bureau of Investigation) CBI, AgustaWestland, the chopper firm had set aside 70 million euros in offset category, to be transferred to companies floated by the Christian Michel. An investigator told IE, “from this 70 million euro, only 30 per cent was scheduled to be utilised for actual for like engineering services, media handling and others – the rest 70 per cent was kept aside to pay the bribe.”
CBI has also found out that the Anglo-Italian firm paid a bribe of around Rs 362 crore to Indian officials to make the deal. Haschke and middleman, Carlo Gerosa, also allegedly bribed former IAF chief SP Tyagi – while Michel was paying off with Ministry of Defence bureaucrats and politicians.