In a startling claim, James Christian Michel, Italy-based middleman named in Rs 3,546 AgustaWestland scam, has said that Indian agencies have been putting “subtle pressure” to extract “information” against the “opposition” political party. The middleman has said that agencies are putting pressure to garner any information against opposition leaders, adding that he never bribed Gandhis. “Since November last year, the agencies are giving subtle pressure to reveal information against the opposition, you know who. I have never paid any bribe to the Gandhis, and it is incorrect to say that I know them,” Michel was quoted as saying by The Sunday Express.
Michel was named by CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case involving alleged payment of illegal kickbacks in the deal. On CBI’s request, a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against the alleged middleman was also issued earlier this year. The properties owned by Michel in India were also attached by ED earlier this year. The Milan Court of Appeals, earlier this year, ruled that the Michel received kickbacks of Rs 330 crore by AgustaWestland — a subsidiary of the Italian aerospace giant Finmeccanica.
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However, Italy’s apex court on Friday allowed an appeal to the order, which may be decided in the next 90 days. “It was bound to happen,” Michel said. He claimed that the earlier judgement was based on a closed-door trial where the evidence was misused. “I am awaiting the details of the Supreme Court order allowing the appeal,” he said.
Although Italian prosecutors identified Michel as one of the main accused, he could not be fully investigated as he lives in Dubai, and is a British national. His firm, Global Services FZE, was allegedly involved in the transfer of bribe money to accused in India, according to the ED.
Michel was named as one of the main accused in the scam by Italian agencies, however, he was never unterrogated as he resides in Dubai, and is a British national. As per Enforcemet Directorate, Michel’s firm Global Services FZE was allegedly involved in the transfer of bribe money to accused in India. Michel said that he is ready to come appear before Indian authorities in India, given some pre-conditions. Admitting that RCN has brought great difficulty for him, Michel said he will come to India if the same is removed. He even claimed to be approached by the High Commission in the UAE 5-6 months ago.