Video: Agusta middleman Christian Michel sent to 5-day CBI custody

New Delhi, News24 Bureau, Dec 5: Alleged AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel was sent to five-day Central Bureau of Investigation custody on Wednesday.He was produced before a Special CBI court.CBI counsel advocate D P Singh told the court that the agency 'needs his (Michel's) custody to confront him with some important documents'.The CBI said that 'the investigation is going on'."We need his custody as money was transferred in two Dubai-based accounts," the agency said.Michel was extradited to India last night.

What is the AugustaWestland Deal?It was alleged that he had entered into a criminal conspiracy with co-accused persons, which included the then IAF chief SP Tyagi and his family members, and the public servants had abused their official positions by reducing service ceiling of the VVIPs helicopter from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres.The reduction in ceiling made AgustaWestland eligible for contract worth 556.262 million Euros, which was awarded to it by the Defence Ministry on February 08, 2010, for procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters.He has been alleged to be a "historical consultant" of the AgustaWestland helicopters in the UK with technical operational knowledge of the aircraft, the military bases and the pilots, the CBI spokesperson said in a statement.Michel worked with the company since the 1980s and before that his father had also been a consultant of the company for the Indian territory, the statement said.He was allegedly a frequent visitor to India and was operating as a middleman for defence procurement through a wide network of sources cultivated in the IAF and the Defence Ministry at different levels, including through retired and serving IAF officials, the agency said.Michel allegedly shared the information collected from the IAF and the ministry with his associates, who used to transmit the despatches through fax to other counterparts sitting in Italy and Switzerland, the CBI said."...He was updating and informing the management of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland, namely Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini and others, about his efforts in India for securing supply contract of VVIP Helicopters," the statement said.In July 2006, AgustaWestland's commercial manager Renzo Lunardi had proposed that Michel will join other middlemen Ralph Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa in carrying out "scouting and monitoring activities" with regard to the acquisition of helicopters in India, keeping in view of his "knowledge of Indian military operational mechanism", it said.During that meeting in Italy, they had negotiated a comprehensive fee equal to 7 per cent of the supply contract amount to cover the expenses and their payments.Michel allegedly entered into 12 contracts through two of his firms -- London-based Global Trade and Commerce and Dubai-based Global Services FZE -- with Finmeccanica to camouflage and legitimise the alleged bribe received by him for clinching the deal, the CBI said.