Christian Michel: How a prince & runaway princess helped in ‘fixer’ Christian Michel’s extradition | India News


NEW DELHI: Christian James Michel, a European middleman at the heart of the UPA-era AgustaWestland chopper scam, was brought to India on Tuesday night. His extradition from the UAE follows an adverse order of a Dubai court. But Indian intelligence sources claimed “the development could also be seen as linked to India’s assistance in tracking Dubai’s runaway Princess Latifa”.

RUNAWAY PRINCESS: Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is Dubai’s ruler and the prime minister of the UAE, fled Dubai earlier this year(after planning the escape for 7 years). She boarded a boat belonging to French-American Herve Jaubert and headed to Goa. But just about 30 miles from the coast the boat was intercepted (by the Indian Coast Guard it is alleged) and she was forcibly returned home. She has not been seen or heard since. In a video she recorded before her escape, she says “if you are watching this, either I’m dead or in a very bad situation”.

Lawyers representing her have asked the UN to intervene to help secure her release and blamed ‘both UAE and India’ for her disappearance. Amnesty alleged that Indian commandos “threatened everyone aboard with guns, and dragged Sheikha away as she screamed that she was claiming political asylum”.

PRINCE TOO: While India’s ‘help’ with the princess may have helped the process it wouldn’t have been the key or the only reason. India had requested Michel’s extradition 19 months ago, and the UAE completed all its legal formalities this week before agreeing to extradite him to India. An Interpol red notice was issued against Michel in November 2015.

The extradition is all the more significant as Michel is a British citizen and the UAE had earlier dismissed requests that as a British national, he could not be sent to India. The deepened strategic relationship that has grown between the UAE and India, helmed by Prime Narendra Modi Modi and the UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed also played a big role.

For India’s law enforcement and diplomacy, the extradition is thus a big moment. Since the Bofors case, this is one of the more major instances when India actually managed to secure the extradition of a high-profile fugitive.

christian michel agusta2

THE FIXER: A British citizen, Michel was allegedly paid 42 million euros (Rs 295 crore) bribe Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland to oay off Indian politicians, bureaucrats and defence ministry officials to swing the Rs 3,600 crore deal for supply of 12 VVIP helicopters in AgustaWestland’s favour. Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.

Meanwhile, after the extradition of British citizen Michel, who’s been sent to 5 days CBI custody, a worried Vijay Mallya has appealed to Indian banks to accept his offer to pay back 100% of the principal loan amount he owes them. That’s just days ahead of a UK court’s decision on his plea not to extradite him to India.



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