AgustaWestland case: ED issues order to attach Paris-based property of Michel's ex-wife
New Delhi, Mar 11: The ED said on Monday it had issued an order to attach a Paris-based property worth Rs 5.83 crore of the former wife of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the VVIP choppers scam case, under the anti-money laundering law.
The agency said a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was issued to attach the asset located at 45 Avenue, Victor Hugo in Paris, which was registered in the name of M/s SCI Solaime and belonged to Michel's former wife, Valerie Michel.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also alleged that Valerie had received the "proceeds of crime" from her former husband. The agency said its probe had found that Michel "had transferred the amount received as kickbacks to various entities, including 9,22,185.76 euros (equivalent to Rs 5,83,40,422) to Valerie Michel and subsequently, to SCI Solaime for buying the immovable property".
The ED would soon send the attachment order to its French counterpart and the asset would be seized and held with a competent court in France till the case was finalised and the accused convicted in India, a senior official of the agency said. He added that the probe revealed that "funds were transferred from Dubai-based companies to various entities".
Michel was extradited from the UAE in December last year and was arrested by the ED. He is currently in judicial custody. Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the Rs 3,600-crore case by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The other two are foreign nationals Guido Haschke and Carlos Gerosa.
The ED, in its chargesheet filed against Michel in June 2016, has alleged that he received 30 million euros (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland, the manufacturer of the helicopters. "Further investigations to identify the remaining proceeds of the crime are under progress," the agency said.