Middleman Michel had commission pact with Dassault as well for IAF's Mirages

FP

A London-based consultant, Christian Michel, who was allegedly paid the lion's share of the 51 million-euro kickback in the VVIP chopper deal, is apparently an old player in the Indian defence market, and even had an agreement with French firm Dassault to get a commission for the sale of its Mirage 2000 fighters to the Indian Air Force.

But Michel did not get the commission eventually as his agreement with Dassault expired before the deal was signed in November 2000, resulting in litigation between the two sides.

Michel, who was allegedly paid 30 million euros as kickbacks by Italy's Finmeccanica for the VVIP chopper deal, had an agreement with Dassault for a 2.5 per cent commission in a deal to sell 10 new Mirage 2000 fighters to India that was being negotiated in the late 1990's, a French court document has revealed.

Indian laws prohibit payment of commissions and hiring agents for defence deals.

Dassault did not respond to calls, messages and an email from The Indian Express seeking its comment.

The IAF's 346 million-euro deal for the Mirages was signed in November 2000. But Michel's agreement with Dassault expired on December 31, 1998, making him ineligible for the 2.5 per cent commission. He, however, had been paid at least 100,000 euros for his role in negotiating the Indian deal before the agreement expired.

Michel, who then owned Panama-registered company Keyser, sued Dassault for the commission and the details of his contract for the Mirage deal are contained in the judgments of a Paris court.

"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 (to) Dassault and other companies in the promotion for the sale of Mirages 2000 to the government of India. This contract was renewed twice by amendments to dates of 30 June 1997 and 10 July 1998," the French court judgment reads.

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