Agusta Westland helicopters, the AW169, bottom, the AW139, center and the AW189, top, manufactured by Agusta Westland (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)  

Enforcement Directorate Files Charge Sheet In VVIP Chopper Scam

The Enforcement Directorate has filed a fresh charge sheet in a Delhi court accusing former AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica directors Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini of money laundering in a VVIP chopper bribery scam case.

The supplementary charge sheet accused 34 Indian and foreign individuals and companies, including and ex-IAF chief S P Tyagi, Italian middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, lawyer Gautam Khaitan and Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland, of laundering money up to 28 million euros.

The probe report also claimed that the kickbacks were paid by AgustaWestland through two different channels. Special judge Arvind Kumar put up the charge sheet, filed through special public prosecutor N K Matta under sections 3 and 4 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), for consideration and further action on July 20.

One channel was handled by middleman Christian Michel James and the other channel was handled by Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke. Gerosa and Haschke in collusion with Tyagi Brothers, cousins of S P Tyagi, conspired with Gautam Khaitan of M/s OP Khaitan & Co, Auditors and Solicitors based at New Delhi
Enforcement Directorate Charge Sheet

The ED, in its charge sheet, has alleged that money was laundered through multiple foreign companies which were used as fronts to park alleged kickbacks. It said that it may file more supplementary charge sheets in the matter.

On January 1, 2014, India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks of Rs 423 crore paid by it to secure the deal.

“Khaitan, the mastermind behind laundering the proceeds of crime in the present case, was known to the accused persons Gerosa, Haschke and Tyagi Brothers. He prepared a corporate structure of companies and got incorporated several legal entities across the globe,” the charge sheet said. “Thereafter, the proceeds of crime were laundered through various companies in Tunisia, Mauritius, India, BVI, Singapore, Switzerland, Dubai etc.”

It further claimed that Khaitan also received proceeds of crime in personal bank accounts opened in his name and the accounts of his companies in India and abroad, M/s Windsor Holding Group Ltd, M/s Ismax International Ltd and M/s O P Khaitan & Co.

The ED had earlier attached properties worth Rs 10 crore and froze shares worth more than Rs 150 crore belonging to Tyagi Brothers, Gautam Khaitan, Gerosa, Haschke, Christian Michel James and Rajiv Saxena.