VVIP Chopper scam NewsX Exclusive: No evidence, no interest to verify political kickbacks, says Judge Marco Maiga

| Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 22:17
First Published |
Agusta: No evidence of political kickbacks

Milan: Judge Marco Maiga continues to provide us with information on the AgustaWestland scam. In an exclusive interview with NewsX, he gives us an insight into the VVIPChopperscandal.
NewsX: Do you think there is enough proof to indict Indian politicians in Agusta scandal?
Judge Maiga: No. In our judgment, they were not involved or indicted, Indian politicians or Indian officials. The indictment was only circumscribed to the 2 Italian men, who were indicted to bribery in relationship with Chief Air Staff, Shashi Tyagi. That's the object of our judgment.
NewsX: You said there was reasonable belief that corruption took place. What did you mean?
Judge Maiga: In verifying the validity of the indictment, we had to verify the documents surrounding the principal story. In the documents, there was one manuscript of Mr Haschke, one of the middlemen of Agusta, in which we found initials of bureaucrats and Indian people that have been identified by investigators as politicians or something like that. But we have no direct evidence, and these people are not at the specific attention of the court.
NewsX: One of the initials in the documents submitted in AP.Who does it refer to?
Judge Maiga: The initials are in the correspondence. Mr Haschke in the trial, said that he doesn't remember who it was. The possibility has been shown only by one investigator, who made this hypothesis that this initial could correspond to Mr Patel.
NewsX: When you say investigators are reaching a hypothesis, what do you mean?
Judge Maiga: Hypothesis of investigation. We didn't verify that because it wasn't the object of our judgment, so it's a hypothesis for us. And everyone can interpret it as they want. Free interpretation in the sense of that document. The document with initials and numbers with the symbol of the euro. So you can interpret it as you want. We used it in a certain way and this is explained in the judgment.
NewsX: In your opinion, is there enough evidence to show political kickbacks?
Judge Maiga: We have no evidence and we have no interest to verify it. It is out of the limits of our judgment so it's not our problem.
NewsX: You said it was validly proven that part of 10-11 million kickbacks made their way back to India.How has this been validly proven?
Judge Maiga: It is not exactly that way. We had some manuscript and on the basis of that manuscript we constructed the amount which joined people in India to certain people. The total amount is not exactly verified because not all the payments were made. They were interrupted when the story exploded. So only a part of the total amount has been paid. We have estimated that the sum channeled in India through the Tyagi family is approximately between 7.5-10 million euros.
NewsX: Who are the people in the manuscripts?
Judge Maiga: We have no specific indication of people. Of name, surname or family name. We only have the initials 'AP' and 'AF'. The document is reproduced completely in the judgment and so everyone can have an idea of it. Everyone can take note and proceed to make his own idea of the sense of it.
NewsX: Would you say AP could mean amount paid?
Judge Maiga: There is a number. Actually I don't remember exactly but maybe there is a number 3 in correspondence. But it has to clear that the note, the manuscript does not indicate money that was already paid, but money, that in the indication of Mr Haschke, should be paid in the future. In the beginning of 2008, the two middlemen, Mr Michel to be exact, said that he should pay this amount to those.
NewsX: So you are saying AP cannot logically mean amount paid because payments had not happened?
Judge Maiga: I didn't say that. This has been said by one of the investigators. 
NewsX: The Congress party says you have given a clean chit to all politicians?
Judge Maiga: We took note of it. He said that, and it may be, but that's all.
NewsX: But reasonably no one can claim a clean chit right now- would you say that?
Judge Maiga: That’s not my role. That’s not my problem. That’s not my interest. That’s something India has to verify, if they want, if they are interested in it. The limit... 
NewsX: So, no one can claim a clean chit?
Judge Maiga: I can't reason about something that's out of my judgment, out of the judgment of the court.
NewsX: Do you have enough evidence that India can use to probe its own leaders?
Judge Maiga: I have nothing to say about it. 
NewsX: Is there enough evidence for India to probe its own leaders, politicians and other individuals?
Judge Maiga: We have some traces. No evidence. No direct evidence. But as I said, it's not our target. And so it's not our interest to verify it. We found documents. The documents are in the judgment, reproduced in the judgment. If the Indian authorities need these documents, they can ask the Italian government, the Italian authorities, the Italian Ministry of justice. There is no problem, I think, to send these documents. ButI can't talk about evidence or proof against other people. 
NewsX: What are the documents you are talking about?
Judge Maiga: The documents I have shown last time. It’s a manuscript of Mr Haschke. It’s reproduced in page 192 of the judgment. I saw it's easily visible on the internet.
NewsX:Do you believe that there is a valid reason to believe there were bribe takers also?
Judge Maiga: In the judgment we said there are traces of possible bribery with other officials. But they are traces. That's all. This is surrounding the principal story, and we didn't enter... 
NewsX: So you say there is suspicion?
Judge Maiga: There are some suspected elements of other presences.
NewsX: I want to ask you, did the former UPA Govt cooperate with your probe?
Judge Maiga: We said in the sentence that we had few documents from Indian authorities and this is weakening the sentence. Italian authorities asked for the documents regarding the deal starting from 2002 and we had only three documents namely - the request for the proposal from Indian government, the technical proposal of AgustaWestland, and the agreement between AgustaWestland and the Indian government. And then we had the report of CAG, but you can download it on the internet.
NewsX: There are general documents… very general documents?
Judge Maiga: We had only these 3 documents that I have mentioned. 
NewsX: What were you expecting?
Judge Maiga: We don't expect nothing. We asked for... and that's what we received. The Italian investigators were not so glad to have it, but that's it.
NewsX: Did you think that was disappointing?
Judge Maiga: In the sentence, we took note of it. Surely I think we hope to have something more, but that's what we had.
NewsX: You have not cleared anyone- you think there is reasonable suspicion?
Judge Maiga: I didn't say that. I said that we had these documents. We said that minister of (inaudible) in the Italian trial in the first degree. They could ask for (inaudible) of damages and they had I think interest to cooperate but the cooperation was limited. We said the cooperation was limited.
NewsX: Is there is enough evidence you could share with Indian authorities?
Judge Maiga: We had 181 boxes of documents of declaration of witnesses. It was a lot of documents. I don't know what could be of interest for the Indian authorities but I think the documents could be suitable for Indian authorities, if they need.
NewsX: You are saying there are 181 boxes of witnesses/documents…
Judge Maiga:(Inaudible) Witnesses in the first degree trial. The major part is documents.

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