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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Dubai court upholds extradition of British national to India under corruption charges

Christian Michel, a UAE resident, will be extradited to India

A screen grab of a video of Christian Michel. The British national will be extradited to India from the UAE.
A screen grab of a video of Christian Michel. The British national will be extradited to India from the UAE.

A Dubai court has upheld an extradition order for a British resident of the UAE to India to face charges of being a middleman in a multi-million-dollar defence procurement scandal.

Christian Michel, 54, is wanted in India for his alleged role in mediating bribes between key Indian government officials and AgustaWestland, an Italian helicopter firm.

The bribes were intended to win AgustaWestland a contract to supply 12 helicopters at a contracted price of nearly $500 million (Dh1.84bn).

Mr Michel was one of three foreign middlemen named in a charge sheet by the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation. He is accused of receiving approximately $35 million as kickbacks in return for playing the role of middleman and brokering the corrupt deal. In 2016, India lodged an extradition request with the UAE, where Mr Michel has been living for the last five years.

A year later, a report was filed against Mr Michel at Dubai Ports police station, and he was referred to prosecution in relation to charges of money laundering and abusing his position.

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Read more:

Dubai court approves extradition of Briton accused of involvement in corruption scandal

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In September, Dubai Appeals Court issued the extradition order and on Monday, it was upheld by Dubai Court of Cessation.

His lawyer, Abdul Moneim Bin Suwaidan, told The National that he and Mr Michel had not yet received a copy of the verdict but was aware of its issuance.

He had argued that the extradition request did not go through the proper channels identified in the extradition treaty signed between India and the UAE.

“As stipulated in the treaty, the request should have been submitted by the Indian home ministry not the foreign ministry. However, if the court found our plea does not apply and ordered his extradition, there is nothing more to do. This is a verdict issued by a court of law and will have to be carried out,” Mr Bin Suwaidan said.

The accused is currently being held in the detention centre of the general department of the Dubai police’s criminal investigations.

“He has been living in the UAE for quite some time along with his family and owns a business,” Mr Bin Suwaidan said.

He said the next step is for Dubai prosecutors to issue an official letter to Dubai Police ordering the execution of the extradition — which will be carried out in co-ordination with Indian authorities.