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VVIP chopper case: Middleman Michel claims he signed nothing, records show he did — on ‘payoffs’

The Milan Appellate court’s judgement of April 7 — which convicted the former CEOs of Finmecannica and AgustaWestland for corruption and fraud — reproduces, a joint affidavit on stamp paper ostensibly written by both Haschke and Christian Michel.

Written by Vaiju Naravane | New Delhi | Updated: April 30, 2016 8:37:35 am
vvip chopper scam, AgustaWestland deal, middleman Middleman Michel, AgustaWestland deal, AgustaWestland scam, AgustaWestland deal probe, Guido Haschke, Carlo Gerosa, VVIP Chopper deal, chopper scam, P Tyagi, vvip chopper scam, agusta westland scam, india chopper scam, vvip scam, india news, latest news He wrote on affidavit with Haschke on 30-million-Euro commissions.

While the roles played by Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa and their links to the Tyagi brothers have been amply clarified by the Milan court, Christian Michel, the third middleman in the AgustaWestland case, remains a key, shadowy player whose role is only now beginning to unravel.

In an interview to The Hindu, Michel claimed he had no hand in the helicopter scam, had signed no document and that the so-called “budget” to buy favours from persons in the Ministry of Defence, including procurement, the Air Force, bureaucrats, the Tyagi “family” as well as politicians (including the intriguing AP) had been penned by his associate Guido Haschke.

However, the Milan Appellate court’s judgement of April 7 — which convicted the former CEOs of Finmecannica and AgustaWestland for corruption and fraud — reproduces, on page 187, a joint affidavit on stamp paper ostensibly written by both Haschke and Christian Michel.

This document has been corrected by hand and bears the writing of Christian Michel.

Although the Enforcement Directorate (ED) may have now moved in on Christian Michel, the mysterious third middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter case continues to remain a major figure. Italian authorities were eager to hear him but were unable to arrest him since he fled to Dubai.

Michel claimed in his interview that he had nothing whatsoever to do with the VVIP scam in India although he had several other contracts with AgustaWestland in the past.

It emerges from the court document that there was a falling out between Haschke and Michel with the former clearly feeling hard done by.

The document reproduced by the Milan Appellate Court indicates that there was some disagreement between Haschke and Michel about the exact amount of commission that would be paid. The affidavit claims that the “family” (read the Tyagi brothers including “cousin” S.P.Tyagi) had been promised 28 million Euros.

It also says the two parties, Haschke and Michel agreed to honour that amount. It emerges that two separate agreements were signed by AgustaWestland, the first for 42 million Euros with Michel’s company Global Services FZE (struck off and replaced by “the team”) and the second, for 28 million Euros with “the family” or “not less than 5 per cent of the total value of the contract”.

The family insisted its share of the spoils had “to be honoured”. So Guido Haschke and Christian Michel decided to reduce their commission from 42 million Euros to 30 million Euros.

The changes in the affidavit, written partly across the revenue stamps at the bottom are in the handwriting of Christian Michel, Haschke claims in his

deposition before the court. “The team has agreed to accept 30 million instead of 42!” writes Christian Michel. “And the team wants the other agreement of 28 million with the family to be honoured completely in full.”

Both men have placed their initials at the bottom of the affidavit, Haschke on the left, Michel on the right.

In his deposition to the court Haschke says: “The final document, after discussions with Michel, was, in my view completely insufficient. I would refuse to put my name to it.” That was, he explained to the Prosecutor, because both he and Michel had been promised an equal share and he felt he was being double crossed by the Briton.

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