A questionnaire was sent to Michel’s lawyers. They provided this newspaper with his answers.

NEW DELHI: The Sunday Guardian got in touch with the lawyers of Christian Michel with certain questions for the alleged middleman in the Agusta Westland helicopter scam. His lawyers provided this newspaper with Michel’s answers to the questions it had sent. Michel, who was extradited from Dubai last year, is presently lodged in jail number 1 of Tihar in Delhi.

Q: The CBI believes that you transferred the unused bribe money of the VVIP helicopter scam to your London-based accounts on several occasions at a time when India was pursuing your extradition. What do you have to say on this?

A: This is completely false. I do not have any current bank accounts in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, there is no bribe money. I must add that after a red corner notice was issued against me in 2015, all my bank accounts have been frozen since then.

Q: The CBI, in court, has said that you are not cooperating in the investigation. If you are innocent, as you claim to be, then why are you not cooperating?

A: On the contrary, I have cooperated as much as I can. What the CBI is unhappy about is that despite their best efforts at the interrogation, I have not said, or “have” for them, what they want. I would have a much easier life if I made something up to appease them. The reality is Agusta Westland did not pay me to bribe anyone.

Q: What is your exact profession? And why did you visit India more than 300 times in the last few years?

A: My profession is that I have considerable expertise in the negotiation of commercial contracts and the understanding of various markets within the aviation industry. The reason for my many visits to India was that I had contracts with Agusta Westland and others, which involved the performance of duties under those contracts. In these types of contracts I can assist in many different ways. I have been providing assistance under the offset clauses in these contracts. I also advise on new potential marketing opportunities within the Indian market.

Q: Was your father working with any Indian agency clandestinely?

A: I cannot answer this question, but not as far as I am aware.

Q: Who were the Indian politicians and bureaucrats with whom you were friendly? One of the primary reasons that has put your conduct under suspicion is the fact that you are not opening up to this particular question in front of the investigators. If you have done nothing wrong then why are you hiding your association with Indian leaders and bureaucrats?

A: The CBI alleges that I have associations with bureaucrats and leaders, although they have no evidence of this. I have no direct association with any such individuals, but the CBI is refusing to accept this. If I had a direct association, I would have no hesitation in admitting it as there is no criminality in being associated with any bureaucrat or leader.

Q: The CBI’s lawyer has said that during your interrogation you have named “Mrs Gandhi” and “son of the Italian lady” who is going to be the next PM of India. Who are these two individuals?

A: The CBI has repeatedly asked me the same question about Mrs Sonia Gandhi. They have leaked false stories to the press that I have mentioned Mrs Gandhi in a context that suits their narration. I suggest that one should look at the context in which she has been mentioned. I am a political weapon which the government is using to smear the Gandhis. I repeat that I have never met or spoken with either Mrs Gandhi or her son. What is more important is that the CBI knows this but it is still refusing to accept it.

Q: Are you trying to protect certain Indian politicians?

A: I am not protecting any Indian politicians nor they need my protection. I have nothing with me to implicate them with. As I have said previously, I am only interested in my own welfare but I cannot do that by implicating any politician.

Q: Why were you trying to flee Dubai when your extradition to India had become a certainty?

A: I never tried to flee from Dubai during the Extradition Proceedings in Dubai. The first attempt at extradition took place in 2017 and at that time the CBI and ED had failed to provide a file to the Dubai prosecutor. At that time I was advised to leave as I was conscious that I would not be extradited from Europe. However, I chose not to do so because I have done nothing wrong. There was no need to flee and hence I did not run away despite having plenty of opportunities.

Q: What has been the response of the British government in this case since you are a British citizen?

A: The British government and the Serious Fraud Office are aware of this case since the last few years. I have no doubt that the Serious Fraud Office do not wish to prosecute me bearing in mind the proceedings that were carried out in Italian courts. I cannot comment on the “response” of the British government.