Friday, July 02, 2021

India Rafale deal under scanner in France, judge appointed to probe alleged corruption: Reports

New Delhi: The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) of France has appointed a judge to investigate “corruption” and “favouritism” suspicions in the 2016 multi-billion dollar deal with India for the purchase of 36 Rafale jets, French media reports said.

In a late night report filed Saturday by French investigative website Mediapart, it said a judicial probe into suspected corruption was opened on 14 June in France over the 7.8-billion-euro Rafale contract of 2016.

French news agency AFP also reported that PNF said a French judge has been tasked with investigating “corruption” suspicions in the deal.

The new probe is an outcome of a series of reports done by Mediapart regarding the deal. Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the Rafale aircraft, has denied all corruption allegations.

Based on the reports by Mediapart, Sherpa, an NGO which works in the field giving support to victims of financial crimes, filed a complaint in April with PNF requesting the opening of a judicial investigation for corruption, favoritism and various financial offences likely to have occurred in the context of the sale of 36 combat aircraft manufactured by aviation major Dassault Aviation.

Mediapart had claimed that the Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) found suspicious payments made to a company linked to a middleman who was arrested by India’s Enforcement Directorate in 2019 in connection with the VVIP chopper scam.

02/07/21 Snehesh Alex Philip/Print

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