Michel’s claims far from truth: ED

British national Christian Michel, an accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, had all the opportunity to join investigations and present his case when the Enforcement Directorate issued summons last year asking for his personal appearance, according to senior ED sources.

The sources also said though Mr. Michel, in his interview to The Hindu, claimed he had written a letter to the Prime Minister last year, the ED had not received any. “His claim that some official from the Indian embassy in the United Arab Emirates had recently contacted him over phone is also false, we checked,” said a senior ED official familiar with the case.

“The Interpol Red Notice is not issued in a day. All necessary legal requirements have to be met. After Mr. Michel’s name figured during the probe, summons was issued against him. However, he neither turned up nor gave any response. Therefore, we moved court and got a non-bailable warrant against him,” said the official.

He said Mr. Michel, otherwise a very frequent visitor to India between 1997 and February 2013, had another opportunity to share his version in the open court last year when the ED sought the warrant against him. “However, he did not put forth any contention. When his assets were attached provisionally, he again had the opportunity to present his case before the adjudicating authority,” said the official.

According to immigration records, the accused flew into India nearly 300 times between 1997 and 2013, mostly on the pretext of pilgrimage.

Based on the findings of the ED and the CBI and the court warrant, the Interpol issued the Red Notice against Mr. Michel in the last week of November 2015.

“Instead of contacting the case investigation officer, he has been giving interviews in the media claiming innocence. However, the Italian court judgment demolishes the theory floated by him. He also said that he wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office last year. We have not received any such letter. He should have written to the agencies which are probing allegations against him,” said the official.

The agencies are aware of Mr. Michel’s U.K. address, but the UAE authorities have not yet shared his Dubai address. They have also not shared details of the transactions of Dubai-based Lloyds Tsb Bank account (No. 60601358922302) through which his company Global Services FZE – located in Dubai’s Airport Free Zone – received funds from AgustaWestland. Apart from the CBI, the Directorate has also sought help from U.K. authorities to arrest and extradite Mr. Michel. The ED, which had earlier sent Letters Rogatory to seven countries, is sending 3 more requests and two reminders to the UAE and Tunisia. Mr. Michel has been accused of receiving 30 million Euros from AgustaWestland to bribe Indian officials for swinging the deal in its favour.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 1:36:57 AM |

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