Indian court orders Briton held during copter bribery probe

Business Law

An Indian court on Wednesday ruled that officials may hold a British man while they investigate him for alleged bribery in a canceled $670 million helicopter deal between India and an Italian defense company.

Judge Arvind Kumar allowed Briton Christian James Michel to meet briefly with his attorney, who sought unsuccessfully to have him released on bail while the charges are investigated. Michel was extradited to India from Dubai on Tuesday to face charges of channeling bribes to Indian contacts.

Michel was detained in Dubai last year after India asked the United Arab Emirates for his extradition.

Indian investigators said in court documents that Michel transferred the money from a British subsidiary of Finmeccanica, which has since been renamed Leonardo S.p.A.

In 2014, India received three of 12 AW101 helicopters it had ordered to fly senior officials but then halted the deal after the bribery allegations surfaced.

The Central Bureau of Investigation said Michel was a frequent visitor to India when the deal was being negotiated and "was operating as a middleman for defense procurements through a wide network of sources cultivated in the Indian Air Force and Ministry of Defense at different levels, including retired and serving officials."

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