Agusta bribe-takers yet to be identified

The Enforcement Directorate, which is now questioning AgustaWestland accused Christian Michel, has so far been able to unearth the money trail allegedly establishing a link between the other two alleged middlemen in the deal and cousins of former Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi. However, all those who are suspected to have received kickbacks through Mr. Michel are yet to be identified. According to the agency, Mr. Tyagi’s cousins Sanjeev, Sandeep and Rajeev Tyagi and their companies had received €1.05 million ostensibly for consultancy works. Therefore, five assets worth Rs. 6.2 crore — located in the National Capital Region — have been attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED probe revealed that payments were made by alleged middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, through their Tunisia-based firms Gordian Services Sarl and IDS Tunisia.

An amount of €4.05 lakh was transferred via the banking channel between 2004 and March 2011. The remaining sum was paid allegedly in cash between April 2011 and December 2011, after the contract for supply of helicopters was given to AgustaWestland on February 8, 2010. The first breakthrough came in September 2014 when the ED arrested Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan for alleged involvement in the routing of funds through Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix and Interstellar Technologies-Mauritius.

It turned out that IDS Infotech (Mohali) was also used to route funds in the garb of engineering work contracts, as alleged. The agency claimed that 82% of Aeromatrix shares were held by another firm IDS-Mauritius and 17% by Mr. Khaitan, indicating that the lawyer was involved in setting up companies for the purpose of transferring funds. The agency arrested Shivani Saxena, director of Dubai-based UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, in July 2017. These firms siphoned off funds under the pretext of consultancy contracts with Interstellar Technologies and others. Ms. Saxena’s husband was a beneficial owner of Interstellar Technologies, it is alleged.

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