Agusta Middleman Christian Michel Missing Since Extradition Order: Lawyer

AgustaWestland case: Christian Michel is the main accused and the middleman in the scam

New Delhi: 

Christian Michel, the British middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper scandal, is missing, his lawyer has told NDTV hours after a court in Dubai ordered his extradition to India.

Mr Michel was arrested in the UAE last year and was out on bail. He is wanted in India for allegedly organising bribes in exchange for a contract for VVIP helicopters.

His lawyer Amal Alsubei said he could not be found since the court ordered his extradition.

“He will be arrested if found. He is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court,” said Mr Alsubei.

The AgustaWestland case involves the purchase of 12 luxury helicopters for use by top leaders including the President, Prime Minister and former prime ministers, when Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led coalition was in power.

In 2014, the government scrapped the contract amid allegations that AgustaWestland, whose parent company Finmeccanica ran into allegations of bribe-giving in Italy, had paid kickbacks in India.

In July, Mr Michel’s lawyer said he was being pressured by Indian agencies to frame Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in return for exoneration from criminal proceedings.

Former Air Chief SP Tyagi, 72, was arrested in 2016 over allegations that he accepted bribes to tailor specifications at the instance of his cousins. He became the first ever military chief — former or current — to be arrested.

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