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AgustaWestland case: Dubai top court orders extradition of middleman Christian Michel to India

Christian James Michel, a British middleman, is wanted by the Indian investigators in connection with the multi-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.
DUBAI: In a significant development, a top court in Dubai on Monday accepted New Delhi’s request to extradite AgustaWestland case middleman and British businessman Christian Michel to India to face probe into the multi-crore VVIP chopper scam.
The request made by the Government of India was approved by Dubai’s Court of Cassation, said reports.
Christian James Michel, a British middleman, is wanted in India in connection with the multi-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.
”Michel is to be extradited from the UAE,” Dubai’s top court said in its order on Monday.
The Court of Cassation upheld on Monday a lower court order which said that Michel could be extradited, dismissing appeals filed by his defence lawyers.
A court bench, presided over by judge Abdelaziz Al Zarouni, pronounced the decision in the presence of member judges Musabeh Thaaloub, Mostafa Al Shinawi, Mahmoud Sultan and another judge.
On Monday, Emirati lawyer Abdul Moneim Bin Suwaidan of Bin Suwaidan Firm for Advocates and Legal Counsels, who is representing Michel, submitted documents showing that courts in Switzerland and Italy had ruled on not to extradite his client.
“The judicial authorities there concluded there was no criminal element in the case,” he said.
Earlier, Bin Suwaidan argued at Dubai’s highest court that the extradition request procedure of Michel would be a “violation” of the international treaty signed between the UAE and India.
The Briton, who is accused of organising bribes in exchange for a contract for VVIP helicopters, had filed his appeal before Dubai’s Court of Cassation within 30 days after the lower court’s ruling.
He remains behind bars in Dubai since he was arrested and sent into custody here pending the legal and judicial procedure.
With Dubai’s top court upholding the lower court’s decision, it has become final but it will still need approval from the UAE’s Ministry of Justice for the extradition procedure to start.
His extradition will take happen in coordination with the Interpol and the Criminal Investigation Department.
Since the appellate court ruled on September 2 that he could be extradited, in response to a request filed by the Indian authorities to the UAE in connection with corruption-related charges, Michel lost his bail conditions.
Michel, whose passport had been seized by the judicial authorities here and later released on bail, became ‘wanted’ on September 2, following a decision issued by the Dubai Court of Appeals, according to which he could be extradited to the authorities concerned in India.

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