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French NGO demands probe from French National Prosecutor on Rafele deal

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According to reports, a French anti-corruption NGO has filed a complaint with the office of French National Financial Prosecutor demanding an investigation into alleged corruption in the Rs 59,000 crore-Rafale deal, which was signed between India and France in September 2016.

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Some of the points which are highlighted in the complaint are, ‘potential acts of corruption, granting of undue advantages, influence peddling, complicity of these offences and money laundering’ by Government of France and Dassault Aviation, the maker of Rafale fighter aircraft.

As reported by French newsportal Mediapart on Friday, the complaint was filed by the NGO- Sherpa, which claims to ‘fight against illicit financial flows; corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and on ill-gotten assets.

At the end of October, the complaint was lodged with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office, seeking an investigation into the circumstances under which 36 combat aircraft produced by Dassault Aviation were sold by France to India in 2016.

Mediapart had also reported that the NGO had sought a probe into the choice of Dassault’s Indian offset partner, Anil Ambani’s Reliance group, which had no ‘experience in the manufacture of fighter jets’ and was only registered ‘twelve days’ prior to the announcement of the finalisation of the contract.

William Bourdon, the founder of Sherpa told Mediapart, “Everything indicates that it is likely to be a very serious matter.” He also added that “The information communicated to the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office should lead to the opening of an investigation as soon as possible.”

Though it is not clear if the Prosecutor’s Office has already opened an investigation into the complaint made by Sherpa. Earlier, the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office had earlier insisted that it ‘reacts when a case merits attention’. Sherpa was was created in early 2014 to combat corruption and complex financial fraud, and has dealt with many highly publicised cases.

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