Middleman Michel had commission pact with Dassault as well for IAF's Mirages
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But Michel did not get the commission eventually as his agreement with Dassault expired before the deal was signed in November 2000, resulting in litigation between the two sides.
Michel, who was allegedly paid 30 million euros as kickbacks by Italy's Finmeccanica for the VVIP chopper deal, had an agreement with Dassault for a 2.5 per cent commission in a deal to sell 10 new Mirage 2000 fighters to India that was being negotiated in the late 1990's, a French court document has revealed.
Indian laws prohibit payment of commissions and hiring agents for defence deals.
Dassault did not respond to calls, messages and an email from The Indian Express seeking its comment.
The IAF's 346 million-euro deal for the Mirages was signed in November 2000. But Michel's agreement with Dassault expired on December 31, 1998, making him ineligible for the 2.5 per cent commission. He, however, had been paid at least 100,000 euros for his role in negotiating the Indian deal before the agreement expired.
Michel, who then owned Panama-registered company Keyser, sued Dassault for the commission and the details of his contract for the Mirage deal are contained in the judgments of a Paris court.
"French companies Dassault International, Thomson-csf and Snecma signed on 24 September 1996, with the company of Panamanian law Keyser Inc. contracts under which Keyser was attending (to) Dassault and other companies in the promotion for the sale of Mirages 2000 to the government of India. This contract was renewed twice by amendments to dates of 30 June 1997 and 10 July 1998," the French court judgment reads.
While Michel sued Dassault pleading that the role of his company was vital in them bagging the India deal, the court ruled the money should not be paid as the "Indian contract was not signed during the period of validity of the contract" between Michel and Dassault.
The role of the controversial businessman, who is known to keep a low profile, in the Italian VVIP chopper deal is explained in detail in the Italian investigation report. It says the kickbacks given to him were used to bribe public officials and political parties in India and Italy but does not give details.
Michel has been described as being extremely close to arrested Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi. The investigation alleges that Michel was paid commission for the chopper deal through fictitious contracts signed between the British unit of AgustaWestland "and some companies linked to him, in order to justify the total compensation of 30 million euros".
Italian investigators have also probed the nature of work AgustaWestland gave Michel to justify the high payments and concluded that the work was just a front to pay him a commission.
"The only activities which seem to have been performed, as per the contract awarded to Global Service FZE based in Dubai, are periodical reports - which were qualified as "poor" by the internal auditors - and a review of the Indian press, which he used to monthly forward to the English client," the investigation report says, adding that none of the agreed "important assignments" were ever preformed by Michel.
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