In the ongoing investigation against Augusta Westland VVIP Helicopter Case and middleman Christian Michel James, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached immovable property in France belonging to James’s ex-wife.
The name of the property is SCI Solaime and it is situated at 45 Avenue Victor Hugo, Paris. “It belongs to his ex-wife Valerie Michel who had received proceeds of crime from the accused,” a press note released by ED stated.
The press note further said, “Investigation revealed that James had transferred the amount received as kickbacks to various entities, including €9,22,185 equivalent to over ₹5.83 crore to his ex-wife Valerie Michel and subsequently to SCI Solaime for investment in purchase of above referred immovable property.”
The property has been attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002.
James was extradited from UAE to India in December 2018. He was arrested on December 22, last year under Section 19 of PMLA and was interrogated in ED custody.
“Investigation revealed that Christian Michele James is a middleman who received kickbacks from the VVIP Chopper deal to the tune of €42 million. During the course of investigation, it was seen that funds were transferred from Dubai-based companies to various entities,” the press note said. In another case, ED has also attached co-accused lawyer Gautam Khaitan’s properties in Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand with book value of ₹8.46 crore and has said that their actual worth may be much higher, ED said in a separate press note.
ED said that while Khaitan held beneficial interest and ownership in foreign assets, he had failed to disclose the same in his return of income filed before the Income Tax Authorities.
Also he had been found laundering money in various personal and companies bank accounts in Singapore and Mauritius and that he wilfully did not disclose the relevant information. “The investigation under the PMLA has revealed that as per KYC documents furnished by the banks, the accused maintained six foreign bank accounts in his name, in the name of companies owned by him through 100 per cent shareholding and in joint name with his father and wife in three banks – Barclays Bank, Singapore Bank and UBS Bank,” the press note said.