VVIP choppers deal: Interpol re-notifies RCN against Britisher

VVIP choppers deal: Interpol re-notifies RCN against Britisher

 Interpol has re-notified a global Red Corner Notice (RCN) against a British national, alleged to be a middlemen in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal, on charges of money laundering pressed against him by the ED.

The re-issued international warrant pertains to Christian Michel James, who has earlier been notified under the same category by the Interpol in the said case but on the request of the CBI, also probing the deal.

The RCN against 54-year-old James has been re-notified recently, officials said, to include charges of money laundering under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on the request of the Enforcement Directorate(ED).

"The charges under PMLA were not included earlier in the Interpol RCN notified against James. These charges have been inserted and the notice re-notified. Indian authorities require him for prosecution in the case," they said.

The CBI has sought his arrest for "criminal conspiracy, cheating, illegal gratification and abuse of official position."

An RCN, according to Interpol, is issued "to seek the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action" in a criminal case probe.

With this re-notification of the global warrant, both CBI and ED have now got RCNs issued against three alleged middlemen wanted in this case-- Italians Carlo Gerosa and Guido Ralph Haschke and James-- after a special court here had issued non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against them on their separate pleas late last year.

In ED's case, the court's order came as it sought issuance of an open NBW against James, who is presently in Dubai, claiming that Agusta Westland had allegedly paid a "kickback" of around 70 million Euro out of which around 30 million Euros was paid to James and his firm Global Services FZE, Dubai while Gerosa and Haschke had allegedly cornered the rest.

The agency had claimed that "investigations revealed that kick backs received by James in his company M/s Global Services, FZE, Dubai in the guise of two agreements from M/s Agusta Westland, were nothing other than that of the kickback which is thus a proceeds of crime."

The agency's prosecutor had then told the court that sustained custodial examination of James was essential for taking forward the probe in the case and know about the role played by him in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters' deal and also to identify his accomplices and associates.

The prosecutor had also informed the court that interrogation of James was necessary to know about the quantum of proceeds of crime he had received as commission for this deal from these firms, details of movable/immovable properties on which the proceeds of crime was invested and allegedly laundered by him and also for "decoding" the names of various persons figuring in the documents recovered during the probe.

"It is also relevant to know that where he had parked the commission amount i.e. proceeds of crime, how he had secured the influence of various persons in India for the said procurement and how he was sending the progress report to officials and other private persons involved in the deal from M/s Agusta Westland etc," the agency had claimed while pressing charges against James.

In September last year, the court had issued an open NBW against James on an application by CBI which is also running a parallel probe in the matter.

ED had in July, 2014 lodged a case under the provisions of the PMLA against several persons who were named in the FIR registered earlier by the CBI in this case.

ED also filed a charge sheet in the case last year against businessman Gautam Khaitan and others including Gerosa and Haschke for alleged offences committed under various PMLA sections.

CBI had named a number of persons in its FIR in the case including former Indian Air Force chief S P Tyagi and the three middlemen are among the 13 individuals named as accused in CBI's FIR, which was later used by the ED for filing their separate case under criminal charges of money laundering.

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