According to a media report, Dubai’s highest court Monday approved India’s request for the extradition of British businessman Christian James Michel, wanted in the Agusta Westland scam case which involved alleged money laundering, commercial fraud and bribery.
In February, Ministry of External Affairs had filed a request with UAE authorities to extradite Michel to India, an application challenged by Michel. In September, the Dubai Court of Appeals ruled in favour of the Indian authorities. On Monday, Michel’s lawyer Abdul Moneim argued that courts in Switzerland and Italy had ruled not to extradite his client. “The judicial authorities there concluded there was no criminal element in the case,” the lawyer was quoted as saying by PTI. Earlier, Moneim had argued that the extradition request procedure of Michel would be a “violation” of the international treaty signed between the UAE and India.
The lawyer further said that India filed its request through the Ministry of External Affairs, whereas, according to law, it should have been done through the ministry of home affairs.
“As per the Criminal Extradition Accord signed between the UAE and India, the Indian Home Ministry is the authority that should have lodged the request,” he had said. In today’s decision, the Dubai Cassation Court upheld the appellate court’s decision.
With the latest decision, it has become final that Michel will be extradited, but it will need approval from the UAE Minister of Justice for the extradition procedure to start. The extradition procedure takes place in coordination with the Interpol and the Criminal Investigation Department.
Michel, a well-known British consultant, was allegedly hired by AgustaWestland to convince top officials in IAF to secure Rs 3,600 crore deal for India. Michel is one of the three main accused middlemen in the case with others being Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. The case is currently being probed by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in India. The ED, in its chargesheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.