Christian Michel Is a ‘Name-Dropper’: Agusta Middleman Haschke
Both Guido Haschke and Christian Michel worked as middlemen for AgustaWestland in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers by India in 2010.
Though he is wanted by Indian agencies in the ongoing investigation into the chopper scam, they have failed to extradite Haschke. Michel, on the other hand, was extradited from Dubai in December 2018, and was sent to jail after being interrogated by CBI and ED for almost a month.
According to sources, the agencies have still not been able to lay hands on evidence proving that bribes were paid to Indian authorities.
In an exclusive telephonic interview to The Quint from Switzerland, Haschke spoke at length about Michel. According to Haschke:
Can’t Confirm Whether Politicians Were Bribed: Haschke
The Indian investigative agencies have claimed that Michel paid bribes to politicians, bureaucrats and Air Force personnel after the chopper deal was concluded. Till date, however, the agencies have not been able to crack the bribe-money trail.
Was any commission paid to politicians, bureaucrats or Air Force personnel?
I don’t believe for one moment what this guy (Michel) is saying. Because he says one thing and something else happens that is not consistent with what he said. So I don’t know, there are tactics which are used in this kind of business which is used everywhere, including India. You say to some company that you need to make a payment to someone and, therefore, you need money. And then you just suck up the money. I am not saying that this is what he did, but this could also be a way of reading this. He might not necessarily have had to make any payment. I am in no position to confirm that any payments went to politicians or bureaucrats or anyone.
Why did he name so many people in different documents seized by the agencies?
He talked to too many people. You can talk to as many people you want, so they need to know something. To talk left and right on matters like this, for no specific reason, is nonsense. One should do his work quietly. And keep things on a purely professional level.
Was he talking to some people here in India about the deal? Is that what you are trying to say?
Yes, he was talking to people in India, outside India. I think he even said at some point of time that he had hired retired Air Force officers and bureaucrats to work with him. Which is not wrong, it is very good to have experience of people like that. It is very helpful because helps in avoiding potential mistakes.
Mysterious Note Is Figment of Michel’s Imagination: Haschke
The amount which is mentioned in the note, did Michel ever tell you that this amount will go as a commission for the deal?
He was trying to convince me that he has to sustain these costs.
The cost to run this project, he needed to spend money. It was just, in my opinion, a figment of his imagination in the sense that he was just trying to aggrandise himself. So dangerously, as we can see, and that’s why I severed my ties.
He was trying to aggrandise himself, “see how big I am, I have to pay this, I have to pay that, I can control all these people.” That’s what he was trying to give me to believe. I don’t believe (whatever Michel was saying) is true. And I will tell you why I don’t believe it is true.
In many written communications that he (Michel) sent to the company (AgustaWestland) and the Chairman, he wrote many things that were later demonstrated to be untrue and unreal.
Why do you say so?
He used to say that ‘this will happen’, ‘this will happen’ but those things never happened. Now, his several faxes are like that. Things that did not materialise.
Also watch how Haschke says the Italian prosecutor tried to ‘trick’ him into naming senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in an Italian court. He also claimed that it is “preposterous” to say that the acronym ‘Fam’ stands for the Gandhi family in the mysterious budget note written by Haschke, allegedly on Michel’s dictation.