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Cops float new allegations vs Gautam Khaitan that his company laundering network involved in Embraer kickbacks

Gautam Khaitan, the founding partner of OP Khaitan & Co who has been in-and-out of jail since 2014 fighting Rs 160 crore money laundering charges in connection with the AgustaWestland case, doesn’t seem to be able to catch a break.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directory have, on condition of anonymity, have leaked to the Hindustan Times that yet another charge sheet would be filed against Khaitan making separate money laundering charges from 2008.

The allegation is that Khaitan had laundered Rs 26 crores in an Indian Air Force deal for reconnaissance planes with Brazil’s Embraer, which has been under CBI investigations since 2016 (Khaitan’s lawyer, PK Dubey, denied all money laundering charges as false).

One anonymous law enforcement official told the HT that Khaitan was involved in Embraer entering into an agency agreement with Singaporean shell company Interdev Aviation Services, which paid arms dealer Vipin Khanna $5.6m in alleged kickbacks to secure an aircraft contract.

Gautam Khaitan, a second of the officials cited in the first instance said, secured the offices of Basmati rice exporting firm, KRBL Ltd for bringing around $ 32,74,635 (around Rs 15.32 crore) to India through its Dubai-based firm KRBL DMCC. KRBL’s official role was to only introduce Interdev Aviations to Niki Luftfahrt Austria, at the time a subsidiary of Air Berlin.

The official and paper don’t clarify the role of companies Air Berlin or Niki Luftfahrt, if any, in this contract.

In any case, Basmati company KRBL’s joint managing director Anoop Gupta apparently told the cops that Gautam Khaitan approached him in Delhi that he could make a cool $3m by acting as a conduit in payments relating to a passenger aircraft sale to a company in Austria (presumably Niki Luftfahrt).

In short, the new case seems to be (not dissimilarly to the older AgustaWestland case) that Khaitan arranged for a network of companies to send money to Khanna for allegedly brokering a deal with the defence ministry. The unnamed police official alleged Khaitan was “central to laundering of proceeds of crime worth USD 5.6 million (Rs 26 crore)”, noting:

“The probe has further revealed that Khaitan brought (into India) another Rs 11 crore through companies controlled by him like Windsor Group Holdings Ltd, M/s Palmira Consultancy Services Ltd, M/s Carisma Investments Ltd (all directed) to the company of the Khanna family, Mulberry Trading FZE, Dubai and Abhay International.”

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