‘I will tell Indian judges I spent 10-15 million euros on ballerinas, champagne’
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About 10-15 million euros of the suspected kickbacks in the IAF's VVIP helicopter contract is believed to have been routed to India and the alleged middleman in the deal apparently planned to tell Indian courts, if he was questioned, that he blew up the money on "ballerinas and champagne", according to taped conversations available with the Italian police.
Discussing his line of defence in India if he was called to answer suspected corruption charges in the Rs 3,546 crore deal for AgustaWestland choppers, Guido Haschke, the alleged middleman, is believed to have said that he would deny the money was paid to anyone in India. Italian investigators suspect the deal involved total kickbacks of 51 million euros.
With his defence that the money was "wasted", Haschke is quoted as saying that Indian courts could at the most prosecute him for tax evasion. The alleged conversation with his business associate Carlo Gerosa took place on March 1, according to Italian police documents submitted in a Naples court.
gerosa (pretending he is a judge questioning Haschke): Tell us, you collected the money, where have you kept it?
Haschke: Eh I collected it, it's my f***ing business where I have kept it, I didn't pay anyone.
G: Ok, but where have you kept it?
H: I wasted it on ballerinas and champagne. And then, then..
G: Yes, but 10-15 million euros on ballerinas and champagne..
H: Ballerinas and champagne. They anyway have to demonstrate I took it [the money]..
G: Well, given that these kind of instructions came from us, me, (lawyer) Gautam (Khaitan), everybody..
H: We wasted it, we wasted the money, we didn't pay anyone. They can say we are guilty because we didn't pay taxes.
In the alleged conversations taped by Italian authorities, it has also been mentioned that Haschke talked about paying off the India head of AgustaWestland, Paolo Girasole, who has been named as the key link to the Indian VVIP chopper contract. The following conversation allegedly took place on March 3.