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Embraer aircraft deal: CBI files FIR, defence agent Vipin Khanna named key accused

The agency, which had registered a preliminary enquiry in September, has converted it into a regular FIR as enough prima facie material has been found by it to proceed in the case
Embraer deal

The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered an FIR in the 2008 Embraer three-aircraft purchase, naming NRI defence consultant Vipin Khanna as the agent who received commissions to the tune of $5.76 million in 2009.

A case has been registered against the UK based NRI whose named had also figured in another defence deal probed by the agency, a news agency reported.

The last time Vipin Khanna was being probed by Indian agencies was in 2006 following the oil-for-food scandal when his son, Aditya Khanna, was named as the main beneficiary of the contracts and his ( passport remained impounded for a long period, reported The Indian Express.

The PTI source, according to the report, said the kickbacks were allegedly paid in 2009 through subsidiaries of Embraer via a Singapore-based company which is owned by the middleman. It is alleged that payoffs were routed through Austria and Switzerland.

The agency, which had registered a preliminary inquiry in September, has converted it into a regular FIR as enough prima facie material has been found by it to proceed in the case.

The deal for three aircraft which were to be used by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for air-borne radar systems was inked in 2008 with Embraer.

A Brazilian newspaper had alleged that that the company had taken the services of middlemen to clinch deals in Saudi Arabia and India.

The Brazilian company has been under investigation by the US Justice Department since 2010 when a contract with the Dominican Republic raised the Americans’ suspicions, the report said. Since then, the investigation has widened to examine business dealings with eight more countries.

After the PE was registered, Embraer had issued a statement saying, “Since 2011, Embraer has publicly reported that it has been conducting an extensive internal investigation and cooperating with the authorities on investigations regarding alleged violations of the FCPA.

“The company voluntarily expanded the scope of the investigation, systematically reporting the progress of the case to the market. ”

“The company is not party of the legal proceedings in Brazil. Therefore, it does not have access to the information contained therein,” the company had said.

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