Chopper firm signed 3 deals with middlemen
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While AgustaWestland has consistently claimed that it has not violated Indian laws that bar the use of middlemen to secure defence contracts, it has now come to light that the Anglo-Italian firm had signed at least three contracts with middlemen in the VVIP helicopter deal to pay the alleged kickbacks.
One of the three contracts was an agreement to pay 5 per cent of the worth of the deal to Mohali-based IDS Infotech and another to manage "hostile" media.
The contracts, copies of which are with The Indian Express, are backed by detailed bank statements that show that millions of euros were paid to alleged middlemen Christian Michel and Guido Haschke for the deal, through banks in Dubai, Italy and Switzerland.
Italian investigators have referred to these contracts, among others, to allege that kickbacks worth at least 10 per cent of the Rs 3,546 crore deal were paid.
One contract with Michel, for payment of 6 million euros, focused on media coverage of the IAF's chopper deal. This deal was signed on March 1, 2010, weeks after India inked the agreement to buy the 12 helicopters, and is called a "post contract services agreement".
It says Michel has to "advise and assist" the company in "all aspects of performing the contract" and provide it with details of "changes in the law". He has to also "identify and inform the company of any hostile press activity that may impact on the execution of the contract".
His firm Global Services FZE is to "assist the company in the development of risk mitigation strategies to minimise the impact of any hostile press activities" and also give "routine feedback" on Indian media activity. The contract agrees to make a payment of 6 million euros in 22 installments of 275,000 euros each.
Documents show that these payments were made after the contract was signed. For instance, 275,000 euros were paid to Michel's firm's account 60601358922302 in Lloyds TSB Bank's Dubai branch on May 5, 2010. In another transaction, the same amount is debited from AgustaWestland's Barclays bank account number 52773044 to Michel's Dubai account on August 3, 2011.
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