Alleged AgustaWestland scam middleman Christian Michel has till 2 October to appeal against his extradition from UAE
After a Dubai court issued a non-bailable warrant against alleged AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel, both the Enforcement Directorate and CBI issued an Interpol Red Corner Notice against him.
According to media reports in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Christian James Michel, a British national allegedly the middleman in the Rs 325.46 billion AgustaWestland chopper deal gone wrong, has been given till 2 October to appeal against the decision of the Dubai courts to proceed with his extradition.
In that decision announced on 2 September, the Dubai Court of Appeals had allowed for his dispatch, pending the final green signal from the UAE's Ministry of Justice. It is pretty much on the cards that Michel will appeal against the verdict, a normal practice at this juncture of such a case, with a 30-day window to file an appeal.
Michel is allegedly one of the three middlemen being investigated in the AgustaWestland chopper case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation. Both agencies issued an Interpol Red Corner Notice against Michel after the Dubai court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
The Briton is currently on bail, though his passport is in the custody of the authorities. Media reports quote the British Embassy as saying that it is assisting a British national in Dubai.
Meanwhile, the Indian Mission in the UAE is refusing to disclose anything on the subject because the matter is subjudice. Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Suri told Firstpost on Thursday afternoon that they will wait for the final judgment before venturing to say anything.
The UAE is signatory to the Riyadh Arab Agreement for Judicial Cooperation of 1983, which was ratified in 2000. It also signed a prisoner extradition treaty with India on 20 May, 2013.
According to law firm Hadef & Partners, the UAE has very clear laws on the subject. One indisputable aspect of its laws is that the executive does not override the judiciary or interfere in its decision-making powers. To that extent, India can believe that for now, unless new evidence is brought to the fore, the Dubai Court of Appeals' acceptance of New Delhi's request in September will be invoked.
The brief on how it works is simple — extradition to a foreign country may be requested for a person residing in the UAE for the purpose of interrogation, prosecution or execution of criminal verdicts against such individuals. To extradite people from the UAE, the conditions set out in Article 7 of Law No 39 have to be met:
* The crime that is the subject of extradition must be punishable under the law of the country requesting extradition (the "requesting country"), with a freedom-restricting or custodial penalty of at least one year or any other severer punishment.
* The act for which extradition is required, if committed within the UAE, must constitute a crime punishable with a freedom-restricting penalty for at least one year or any other severer penalty.
* If the subject of extradition pertains to the execution of a custodial penalty, the remaining unexecuted penalty shall be no less than six months.
* If the subject of extradition constitutes a punishable crime under the laws of the "requesting country" and the UAE, it is irrelevant if the crime is listed under a different name or description, or if the elements of the crime are different.
Clearly, the parameters were met for the Dubai court to decide in favour of India's extradition request for Michel.
It has to be mentioned that the case was reportedly closed administratively before the September announcement because India had not filed the necessary papers. It was after they submitted the requisite documents later that the case was reopened and proceeded accordingly to this final stage.
On 1 January, 2014, India scrapped the contract with AgustaWestland's parent company Finmeccanica for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force. The case deals with charges of kickbacks of Rs 423 crore paid by the government to secure the deal. The enforcement Directorate alleged that money was laundered through multiple foreign companies, which were used as fronts to park alleged kickbacks.
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