AgustaWestland chopper deal: The mysterious ways of Christian Michel and his father in India

For a man who is accused of getting an astonishing amount of Euro 30 million as kickbacks in the VVIP chopper scandal, London-based consultant Christian Michel has a very low profile. Little, if anything, was known of the man till recently and his extensive operations in India too have been extremely discreet.

However, as the probe shows, the man was allegedly critical to the deal and managed political parties and players in Italy as well as in India. Michel has been known for his high-reaching political connections in the Congress party and the access that he manages to get to top government and political functionaries.

He also has a history behind him. Insiders recall a similar access shared by his father Wolfgang Richard Max Michel who operated in India in the 1980s and 1990s. Wolfgang passed away last year but old timers recall him as a controversial businessman who extensively worked in the Indian government sector for several years.

Christian, in fact, is from a very well connected London family. His sister, Caroline, is known as a 'literary supremo' in the UK and heads the literary agency, Peters Fraser Dunlop (PFD). She recently was listed in the top 500 of the 'Tatler List' that rates influential people in the UK.

DETAILED STORY HERE : Italian under probe was active in India defence sector


His dealings in India may be even more extensive than thought of in the VVIP scandal, given that it has now emerged that he even had a contract with Dassault for a commission to fix a deal to sell Mirage 2000 fighters to the IAF. The commission was not eventually paid as the contract expired in 1998, two years before the signing of the deal.

However, the fact that he had such a 'lucrative' contract with Dassault and ended up getting paid at least Euro 100,000 shows his deep connections in the Indian play of power.

DETAILED STORY HERE: Middleman Michel had commission pact with Dassault as well for IAF's Mirages

A French court, that arbitrated a dispute between Michel (who owned Panama-based company Keyser) and Dassault after the former pressed charges for non payments, details the commission deal in its judgement. Excerpts here:

''French companies Dassault INTERNATIONAL THOMSON-CSF and SNECMA signed on 24 September 1996, with the company of Panamanian law KEYSER Inc.. Contracts under which KEYSER was attending Dassault and other companies in the promotion for the sale of mirages 2000 the Government of India. This contract was renewed twice by amendments to dates of 30 June 1997 and 10 July 1998. The contract with the Government of India for the supply of 10 Mirage 2000 for a price of 346 913 300, occurred on 19 September 2000. By letter of 13 November 2000, Dassault KEYSER sent an invoice 1,656,111.70 corresponding to a commission of 2.5% on the first deposit received from the Government of India for an amount of 56,832,710. KEYSER who have not received the payment of this bill introduced this proceeding."


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