Middleman earned millions, leaked confidential defence ministry info during Rafale negotiations: Report

The third and closing a part of the investigation into the Rafale jets deal by French news portal Mediapart has revealed that businessman Sushen Gupta and his intermediaries obtained “several million Euros” from Dassault and its associates.

In flip, Gupta and his intermediaries “leaked confidential information”, together with essential paperwork of the Indian defence ministry in regards to the Indian negotiating workforce’s positions and arguments it was prone to put ahead during the negotiations.

Documents accessed by the French media portal recommend that Sushen Gupta acted as intermediary for Dassault Aviation and its industrial accomplice Thales, for a number of years beginning early 2000s.

Thales is a Paris-based defence-electronics firm wherein Dassault and the Government of France are stakeholders.

According to the Mediapart report, Thales “paid Sushen Gupta several million Euros in secret commissions to offshore accounts and shell companies, using inflated invoices for software consulting”.

WHO IS SUSHEN GUPTA?

Sushen Gupta comes from a household of defence contractors and was reportedly employed by the French facet originally of the 2000s, when information of India in search of to amass 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts (MMRCA) first surfaced.

His contract seemingly lasted till the signing of the ultimate settlement between India and France.

Sushen Gupta can be accused of laundering cash in one other controversial defence deal, the VVIP Chopper Deal, which now stands scrapped.

HOW DID HE OPERATE?

Gupta allegedly used an online of corporations together with IDS in India and Interstellar in Mauritius and several other accounts in Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The same community of corporations was used during the AgustaWestland Chopper deal. Sushen Gupta was arrested within the case however was launched on bail later.

According to the report, a person named ‘Pierre’ at Dassault was the purpose particular person for disbursement of the commissions through entrance corporations registered in Mauritius.

An inside Dassault doc revealed by the French platform exhibits that the Dassault positioned 2 million Euros-worth of orders with IDS in 2004, and deliberate to position 4.6 million extra.

“Between 2002 and 2005, IDS transferred 900,000 Euros to Interstellar”, Medipart reported on Thursday.

Another Singapore-based firm Interdev was used to launder cash, which in line with the report, was floated as a “system integrator for Dassault in Asia”, however later recognized by Mediapart as a shell firm run by “a straw man for the Guptas who is currently on the run in South Africa”.

‘D’–GUPTA’s SECRET CODE FOR DASSAULT

An account spreadsheet, allegedly belonging to Gupta, has been accessed by Mediapart. According to its report, Dassault has been designated with the code ‘D’ within the spreadsheet.

‘D’ reportedly paid 14.6 million Euros to Interdev in Singapore over the interval 2004-2013, out of which Interdev transferred 2.6 million Euros to IDS, whereas 11.9 million Euros have been transferred to Interstellar Mauritius.

The French report reveals Gupta’s naked entry to privileged authorities info during the worth negotiations cycle between Dassault and the Government of India, which spanned throughout a number of years.

“On April 13, 2012, his [Gupta’s] Singapore shell company, Interdev, drew up three contracts for consultancy services for Dassault, for a total of 4 million Euros. The work involved providing research reports on the defence market in India and identifying potential industrial partners,” Mediapart’s Yann Philippin reported on Thursday.

“Sushen Gupta was involved in the process of selecting Indian industrial partners,” Philippin wrote.

THE SENSITIVE DOCUMENTS

An digital ticket accessed by Mediapart exhibits that Gupta was booked on an Air India flight from Paris to New Delhi on September 7, 2012.

Another doc with notes cited by Mediapart, suggests he was seemingly ending a gathering with Dassault Aviation on the identical day.

A trove of paperwork accessed by Mediapart, together with the confidential defence ministry notes, exhibits Gupta’s very important place during the ultimate yr of the worth negotiations.

“He obtained confidential documents from the Indian defence ministry on the subject of the dispute over the purchase costs. These included the minutes of meetings by the Indian Negotiating Team (INT), the arguments they had prepared to present to the French, and detailed notes on the calculations of the costs [benchmarking of costs] and the methodology employed. Gupta even obtained an Excel sheet created by one member of the INT for calculating the purchase price,” Mediapart report alleged.

HOW DID IT HELP FRANCE AGAINST INDIA?

Apparently, full contents of a revised confidential supply from considered one of Rafale’s prime opponents Eurofighter, despatched to then defence minister Arun Jaitley, was additionally accessed by Gupta and his associates.

The confidential info gathered by the intermediary was successfully utilized by the French facet to counter the Indian negotiating workforce’s arguments.

In one of many spreadsheets created on January 20, 2016, Gupta allegedly urged an general buy price of seven.87 billion Euros.

The French negotiating workforce reportedly proposed the very same quantity within the assembly subsequent day.

Incidentally, after just a few months, the ultimate Rafale jets contract was agreed between the 2 sides at a value of seven.87 billion Euros.

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