AgustaWestland: ED raids in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate conducted searches at 10 places in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad in connection with its money laundering probe in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal, an official said on Monday.

“ED conducted searches at 10 premises on June 15 located in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad in AgustaWestland case,” an ED official said.

The official said the agency also issued freezing orders under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against shares worth Rs 86.07 crore owned by companies in Dubai, Mauritius and Singapore.

The ED is probing the case in which Rs 360 crore were allegedly paid as kickbacks by Finmeccanica, the parent firm of AgustaWestland, to clinch the deal for 12 VVIP helicopters. The payments were made in the “guise of” transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.

The agency had lodged a case in July 2014 against former Indian Air Force chief S.P. Tyagi, businessman Gautam Khaitan, his wife Ritu, three Italian middlemen — Christian Michel James, Guido Ralph Haschke and Carlo Gerosa — and 13 others in the case.

Following the money trail, the agency discovered that Khaitan along with two middlemen Gerosa and Haschke were paid 28 million euro by AgustaWestland through IDS Tunisia.

The ED found that IDS Tunisia had transferred the money to various companies, including a sizable chunk of the laundered money (an amount of euro 12.4 million) to Mauritius-based Interstellar Technologies.

“The money was moved through web of companies located in Mauritius, Dubai, Singapore, and these companies purchased the shares of three companies in India,” the official said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is also conducting separate investigation into the AgustaWestland’s AWA101 helicopter deal.

–IANS

rak/rn/vt

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