Monday, November 08, 2021

Mediapart: Dassault Aviation used false invoices to bribe middleman for sale of Rafale jets; Indian agencies did not probe kickback charges

New Delhi: French portal Mediapart on Monday claimed in a new report that it has evidence of kickbacks being paid by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation to help secure the sale of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft to India.

Mediapart has alleged that false invoices were used to enable Dassault Aviation to pay at least 7.5 million euros (which is nearly Rs 65 crore) in secret commissions to middleman Sushen Gupta.

Sushen Gupta was earlier arrested for alleged bribes in the AgustaWestland deal.

The media portal further alleged that the CBI and the ED had evidence of bribe being paid since October 2018 but did not pursue the matter.

A report on the Medipart website said: "It involves offshore companies, dubious contracts and “false” invoices. Mediapart can reveal that detectives from India's federal police force, the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), and colleagues from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which fights money laundering, have had proof since October 2018 that French aviation firm Dassault paid at least 7.5 million euros (equivalent to just under 650 million rupees) in secret commissions to middleman Sushen Gupta. This was in the context of the French firm's long and ultimately successful attempt to secure a 7.8 billion-euro-deal in 2016 to sell 36 of its Rafale fighters to India."

Mediapart, had in April, published a report to reveal how an influential Indian business intermediary was secretly paid millions of euros by Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation and French defence electronics firm Thales. They succeeded in removing anti-corruption clauses from the fighter contract which was subsequently signed by then French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the report claimed.

08/11/21 Times of India

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