Millennium Post

Probe in AgustaWestland bribery reaches Israel

In what could be termed as advancing the probe in one of the biggest procurement scandals in India, the Enforcement Directorate’s investigation in the AgustaWestland bribery has reached Israel as fresh evidence indicates that money was siphoned-off through accounts based in that country. The official, however, refused to divulge the name of the persons whose accounts were found and said this can be confirmed only after overseas investigation is over.

Sources in the ED told to Millennium Post that the agency has come across some financial transactions that happened with multiple accounts based in Israel, Finland and Denmark. “During the ongoing investigation, agency has got the details of some bank accounts in three more countries namely Israel, Denmark and Finland which probably could have been used for diverting the money to get the VVIP chopper deal done,” said an ED official. 

Speaking on the further course of action on the new evidence, the official said that agency would now approach the special court to send the letters rogatory (LRs) to these countries and following the court permission overseas investigation would be conducted to establish the possible crime. “The ED had also found some companies based in UK, Mauritius, Tunisia and Dubai which were allegedly used to route money to India. The process of overseas investigation in these countries is still underway,” said an ED official.

The agency, earlier, had moved a special court to send LRs to six countries - UK, US, Italy, Dubai (UAE), Tunisia and Mauritius - seeking information on several companies. With the fresh evidence in the case, the ED investigation has now spread into nine countries. 

Earlier, Interpol issued Red Corner Notices (RCNs) against two Italian nationals, alleged to be the middlemen in the multi crore chopper deal, on the charges of money laundering pressed by the ED. 

Sources in the agency said the global warrant for arrest was issued against Carlo Gerosa and Guido Ralph Haschke after a special court had issued non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against them on the agency’s request.

ED had earlier claimed in the court that AgustaWestland had allegedly paid a ‘kickback’ of around 70 million Euros, out of which around 30 million Euros was paid to James and his firm Global Services FZE, Dubai, while Gerosa and Haschke had cornered the rest. While making a plea for the RCN, agency had told the court that the Italians were required to be interrogated on many aspects of the case after its probe established their role in the case. 

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