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Jaguar, Mirage, AgustaWestland: How the Michels ruled India’s arms market since 1978


New Delhi, Dec 7: The Michel's are not new to India. The Central Bureau of Investigation says that the Michels have earned nearly 2 million pounds from India between 1987 and 1996.

File photo of James Christian Michel

Michel's father, Wolfgang Max Richard Michel was an active player in the Indian arms marketing the 1970s and 1980s. He has worked on a number of deals in India, but remained a low key figure. His name and association with the arms market in India came out in the open after his son's name cropped up in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

AgustaWestland: Why did UPA go to Italy, when it could have shopped in Hyderabad

Prior to AgustaWestland, Michel had worked on the Mirage deal. He had a deal with the French firm Dassault to sell Mirage fighters to the Indian Air Force. The agreement stated that he would be given a commission of 2.5 per cent.

While all this was a low key affair, the first time this came out in the open was when Michel moved a French court to claim the money. This was however contested by the French firms, who said that the contract had lapsed in 1998 and hence he was not liable to be paid. India went on to purchase 10 Mirage fighters in 2000.

The Economic Times while citing a French court judgment of September 11 2002 states that French companies Dassault International, Thomson-CSF and Snecma signed on September 24 1996 with the company of Panamanian law Keyser Inc contracts under which Keyser was attending Dassault and other companies in the promotion for the sale of Mirage 2000 to India. This contract was renewed twice by amendments on June 30 1997 and July 10 1998.

Michel lost the case, but came back for the AgustaWestland deal. He is accused of bribing officials and also procuring secret documents from the Defence Ministry when the selection process was on.

AgustaWestland: UK seeks urgent information on Michel's extradition

96, Entera Corporation is said to have earned more than 2 million Pounds from India.

Michel senior too is alleged to have hobnobbed with the high and mighty in India prior to the signing of the Jaguar fighter jets deal. Documents that were declassified by the UK foreign office. Incidentally the Jaguar deal was signed in October 1978. At that time defence minister, Jagjivan Ram's daughter was employed at the Indian High Commission in London.

Michel senior had made claims that he had hosted the then defence minister Jagjivan Ram prior to the signing of the deal.

Michel inherited the consultancy business from his father Wolfgang Max Richard Michel.

Wolfgang Max Richard Michel was also a consultant with AgustaWestland. Back in the 1980s, he was a consultant for the Indian territory and had reportedly acted as a mediator in other countries as well.

Michel senior promoted three companies-Entera Corporation, UCM International Trading Limited and Ferro-imports Limited. Between 1987 and 1996.

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