New Delhi: Dassault, the manufacturer of French comabt jet Rafale, paid one million euro to a middleman in India just after the deal for 36 Rafales was signed, an investigation by the French publication Mediapart has revealed citing an investigation by the country’s anti-corruption agency.
The irregularity was first discovered by the inspectors of the French Anti-Corruption Agency, Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA), during their scheduled audit of Dassault.
As per the audit findings, an amount of 508,925 euro was allegedly paid under “gifts to clients” head in the 2017 accounts of the Dassault group.
“The company said the money was used to pay for the manufacture of 50 large replica models of Rafale jets, even though the inspectors were given no proof that these models were made,” Mediapart reported.
According to the AFA report accessed by Mediapart, the French investigators were provided with an invoice from Indian company Defsys Solutions in an attempt to justify “the larger than usual gift”.
The invoice dated March 30, 2017, suggested that Defsys was paid 50 per cent of an order worth 1,017,850 Euros for manufacturing of 50 dummy models of the Rafale jets. Each model was priced at 20,357 Euros.
However, the Dassault group reportedly was unable to provide any documentary evidence to the AFA inspectors, which could establish the existence of those models. Dassault could also not explain why the expenditure was listed as a “gift to clients” in their accounts.
Notably, Defsys Solutions is run by Sushen Gupta, who is being investigated by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate in the AgustaWestland case involving kickbacks paid in India in a deal for VVIP choppers. Gupta was earlier arrested and later granted bail for his alleged role in the AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper case.
The 7.8 billion government-to-government deal for 36 fighter jets was signed in 2016. The Indian Air Force has already raised its first squadron of the Rafale jets at Ambala and is due to raise the second one at Hasimara in West Bengal