Once the Italian investigations pointed to a scam in the deal, an internal audit by AgustaWestland of Michel’s firms – Global Trade and Commerce Ltd London and Global Services FZE, Dubai – indicated that payments made by them to the tune of 34 million euros (approx. Rs 276 crore) were indeed “dubious”.
The report by AgustaWestland’s vice-president (audit), Giorgio Casana, was shared by Italian authorities in their letter rogatory (LR) reply along with hundreds of fax dispatches between Michel and AgustaWestland representatives, in which both sides discussed the VVIP chopper tender, payments and details of meetings among other things.
CBI sources told TOI that Casana had travelled to Dubai to audit GTCL and GSF and found major anomalies in spending of 34 million euros out of the total 42.27 million euros paid by AgustaWestland to Michel. When Casana confronted Michel and his office manager David Syms with these “dubious” payments, they both gave “false explanations” on the end use of such huge amount. Michel has so far claimed he took money from AgustaWestland for “consultancy” but investigators say these were bribes and he provided no consultancy business to the company.
The audit report, CBI officials asserted, will play an important role in the next chargesheet which will be comprehensive and will mention the money trail.
Michel, who is in CBI custody, has already admitted to receiving payments from the Anglo-Italian firm.
According to sources, when asked about his links with former IAF chief Air Marshal (retired) SP Tyagi and his cousins, the British national is learnt to have admitted paying $11,000 per month to the “family” for a few months.
Sources said he has also named some former IAF and defence ministry officials who he regularly met. A few officials have already been brought face-to-face with Michel apart from his “so-called” business partners in India. CBI has also accessed the fax dispatches between AgustaWestland and the middlemen which reveal that Tyagi was lobbying for AgustaWestland even after his retirement.