22,000 Euro Payoff To “Fam” In Agusta Case, Reveal Milan Court Papers


Christian Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen extradited on Tuesday. (File)

New Delhi: 

As the CBI began questioning Christian Michel today on allegations of bribes in the VVIP chopper deal, the alleged middleman will be asked about the alleged payoffs that he made as a consultant to chopper maker AgustaWestland. NDTV has accessed the judgement of the Milan Court of Appeals, which gives us greater insight into what the agencies are hoping to extract from the 57-year-old Briton extradited by Dubai on Tuesday.

Christian Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen who are accused of organising bribes for Indian decision-makers – politicians and bureaucrats – to help Agusta snag the contract.

The Milan judgement refers to a document obtained by Swiss authorities, which reveal alleged payoffs of 22,000 Euros made to “the fam” or family.

The document the Swiss received legally, says the payment was made to “the family” in two transactions of 11,000 each over two months.

This is the first documented acknowledgement of the actual amount paid to “the family”. The document quotes a letter from Christian Michel to another middleman, Guido Hashke, which says the payment was for “compensation.”

But curiously, there is no confirmation from the entire judgement or documents on which “family” it is.

Already the subject of a major political row in the country in election season, with the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicating that the “family” is the Gandhi family, sources in the Italian prosecution had told NDTV that it is likely a reference to the other accused in the case – former Air Chief SP Tyagi and his cousins Sandeep, Julie and Tocsa Tyagi – on whose request he allegedly tweaked chopper specs to help Agusta win the contract.

The BJP alleges that the initials “AP” in the document stand for “Ahmed Patel”. When Hashke was asked about the acronym he told the Italian court “I do not know what it means”.

Haschke also said, according to the Milan judgement, that “fam” means “family” and “bur” means “bureaucrats”. But he didn’t elaborate.

When NDTV asked the CBI, officials confirmed these would be details they would be asking Christian Michel during his questioning.

It is not clear what evidence the CBI has against not just Christian Michel but any of the accused in the case. In January, when the Milan Court of Appeals confirmed the acquittal of those accused in Italy, it held that the entire case was baseless because of various reasons including “alleged corruptive conduct with Christian Michel not being established.”

The Milan court said the main allegation against former Air Chief Tyagi was to change the specification of the VVIP chopper tender from 6,000 metres to 4,500 meters. But the court held this was changed before SP Tyagi became Air Chief. The court also said “no confessional statements” were made and no money link was found to public officials at all.

The CBI says Christian Michel “impacted” the deal. However, the first meeting that Christian Michel had on this was in September 2006, after the specifications were changed. The Milan court concluded “no role could be ascribed to intervention attributable to Michel.” So will the Indian courts succeed where the Italian prosecutors failed?

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2018 Fiat Panda Hatchback Scores 0 Stars In Euro NCAP Crash Test


The 2018 Fiat Panda hatchback, one of the most popular offerings from the Italian automaker has scored a very low 0 star rating in the latest Euro NCAP crash tests.

While the 0 Star Car is still a sad reality in India as we have seen recently with the Renault Lodgy, Europe more often than not has cars that scores a higher 4 or 5 star safety rating across the board. Which is why a 0 Star rated car is most certainly something to report about, even though the car in question is not really relevant to India in general. The 2018 Fiat Panda, one of the most popular offerings from the Italian automaker and also it’s cheapest hatchback has scored a dismal 0 star rating in the recent set of tests conducted by the Euro NCAP. The score on the Fiat Panda is one of the lowest ever seen.

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(Euro NCAP Fiat Panda Crash Test)

Unlike Global NCAP that tests cars that are made in India too, the Euro NCAP tests have far more parameters. The car goes through the usual frontal offset crash test as for the Indian cars but also has a side impact, a full frontal test and several pedestrian tests too. While the Panda’s compartment remained stable for the frontal offset test, the readings on the test dummy showcased weak chest compression. The test results also showcased that the knee and the femur protection was good but while subjected to a full frontal test, dummy readings indicated weak protection of the head and neck.

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(Fiat Panda)

Commenting on the results, Michiel van Ratingen, General Secretary, Euro NCAP said, “It is truly disappointing to see a brand-new car being put on sale in 2018 with no autonomous braking system and no lane assistance. It is high time we saw a product from the FIAT-Chrysler group offering safety to rival its competitors.”

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(Euro NCAP Fiat Panda Side Impact Crash Test)

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The Fiat Panda also scores really poorly in terms of children safety as tests for various ages showcased poor readings to the head and other parts of the body. Euro NCAP also tests car seats in specific for whiplash protection. Tests on the front seats and head restraints showcased marginal protection against whiplash injuries in the event of a rear end collision and the rear seats in particular indicated poor whiplash protection. The Panda also scored lower as it does not get any automated emergency braking systems or AED.

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All-Electric Jaguar I-Pace Scores 5 Stars In Euro NCAP Crash Test


The Jaguar I-Pace scored 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 81 per cent for child occupant protection, and 81 per cent for safety assist features.




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The Euro NCAP tested the I-Pace for side barrier impact and the more severe side pole test

Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) has recently released its latest crash test results and Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace SUV has scored a five-star rating. The Jaguar I-Pace scored 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 81 per cent for child occupant protection, and 81 per cent for safety assist features. The Euro NCAP tested the I-Pace for side barrier impact and the more severe side pole test, and the electric SUV scored maximum points in both, offering good protection of all critical body areas.

Also Read: Jaguar I-Pace Electric SUV Review


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The Jaguar I-Pace scored 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 81 per cent for child occupant protection

Commenting on the Jaguar I-Pace receiving five stars in Euro NCAP crash test, Simon Black, Senior Project Leader, Body Engineering Jaguar Land Rover said, “The Jaguar I-PACE has already received awards for its design, performance and handling. This latest award from Euro NCAP confirms the I-PACE’s exceptional safety standards. The SUV has been expertly engineered with a lightweight aluminium body structure and integrated battery pack to provide outstanding crash protection for occupants. Safety is our biggest priority and it is fantastic to see the Euro NCAP results reflect this.”

Also Read: All-Electric Jaguar I-Pace Bags German Car Of The Year Award

The Jaguar I-Pace offers superior torsional rigidity thanks to its lightweight aluminium construction and its battery pack’s structural aluminium frame, which together add in improved stiffness. Furthermore, Jaguar has made use of industry-first aluminium forgings, and Jaguar-first applications of post-form heat treatment to increase the strength of the aluminium alloys used in crash-critical areas.

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Euro NCAP tested the I-Pace for side barrier impact and the more severe side pole test

In terms of safety, the Jaguar I-Pace comes with several features for incumbents and pedestrian safety as well. Features like – deployable bonnet and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection. Jaguar also designed a unique Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) for its first electric vehicle that warns road users when the vehicle is approaching. Other safety and driver assist tech include – adaptive cruise control with steering assist, blind spot assist, and 360-degree parking aid.

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Incidentally, now Jaguars entire Pace range, F-Pace, E-Pace, and I-Pace, have been rated among the safest vehicles by Euro NCAP, with all three receiving five-star rating. In fact, the I-Pace is the tenth consecutive model from the British automaker to receive five stars in crash tests.

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New Generation Suzuki Jimny Scores Only 3 Stars In Euro NCAP Crash Tests


The 2018 Suzuki Jimny was marked down in the Euro NCAP tests after the driver side airbag failed to fully inflate to stop the head from coming in contact with the steering wheel rim.




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The 2018 Suzuki Jimny scored 73 per cent in adult occupation protection

The latest set of Euro NCAP results are out and the recently unveiled new generation Suzuki Jimny was part of the line-up which also included the all-new Audi A6, Volkswagen Touareg and Ford Tourneo. While the A6 and the Touareg scored the maximum five-star rating followed by the Tourneo scoring four stars, the 2018 Suzuki Jimny received underwhelming results as it managed only a three-star rating. The off-roader scored 73 per cent in adult occupation protection, while child occupation protection received an 84 per cent score. The safety assist on the Jimny stood at 50 per cent, while vulnerable users were scored at 52 per cent.


Maruti Suzuki

Also Read: New Generation Suzuki Jimny Launched In Japan

The low rating though was caused by a number of safety concerns on the 2018 Suzuki Jimny. The crash results observed that the driver side airbag didn’t inflate with enough pressure to stop the head from coming in contact with the steering wheel rim, in addition to the potential for deformity around the front door pillars in the front offset impact test, which made for a weak rating on the driver’s torso. Furthermore, the front seats offered only marginal whiplash protection in case of a rear impact.

Also Read: 2018 Suzuki Jimny: All You Need To Know

While child occupant protection was good, the Suzuki Jimny lost marks in the vulnerable road users category due to the stiff windscreen pillar. In the safety assists category, the off-roader was awarded 50 per cent since the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system struggled to spot pedestrians in low light, and wasn’t able to detect cyclists at all. It did, however, work fine at low speeds in city conditions.

Meanwhile, the Audi A6 was the strongest scorer in the Euro NCAP crash tests with a 93 per cent result in adult occupant protection, 85 per cent in child occupant protection and 81 per cent in vulnerable road users score. The Volkswagen Touareg secured 86 per cent in adult occupant and 81 per cent in child occupant protection.

The Audi A6 was the strongest scorer in the most recent NCAP tests, achieving adult occupant protection of 93 percent and a vulnerable road users score of 81 percent. The Touareg slightly outscored the A6 in both the child protection and safety assist categories, making 86 and 81 per cent respectively to the Audi’s 85 and 76 per cent.

Also Read: Import Of Foreign Cars To Become Easier

For the European market, the fourth generation Suzuki Jimny is offered with a 1.5-litre petrol engine that produces 102 bhp and 130 Nm of peak torque. The motor is paired with a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The SUV gets All-Wheel drive as standard. With respect to safety, the Jimny comes equipped with six airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts for the rear seats, AEB, seatbelt reminder and lane assist system.

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Maruti Suzuki has not confirmed yet if the new generation Jimny will make its way to India. While the off-roader has been reportedly ruled out for India, the company could consider bringing the model here in limited numbers under the government’s new rule that allows importing global models homologation free up to 2500 units.

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Google Faces 4.3 billion Euro Anti-Trust Fine Over Android: Source


The case is the most important out of a trio of antitrust cases against Google.

Brussels, Belgium: 

The European Commission will fine Google a record 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion) on Wednesday over its Android mobile operating system, a source close to the matter told Reuters.

The source said Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager would confirm the antitrust fine, which is nearly double the previous record 2.4 billion euro fine which the U.S. tech company received last year over its online shopping search service.

A news conference is scheduled in Brussels for 1100 GMT.

The fine represents just over two weeks of revenue for Google parent Alphabet Inc. and would scarcely dent its cash reserves of $102.9 billion.

The fine, however, could add to a brewing trade war between Brussels and the Trump administration in Washington.

Vestager’s boss, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, is due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House next Wednesday in an effort to avert threatened new tariffs on EU cars amid Trump’s complaints over the U.S. trade deficit.

Vestager’s announcement on Google is expected to include an order to halt anti-competitive practices in contractual deals with smartphone makers and telecoms providers.

Android runs about 80 percent of the world’s smartphones according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

The case is the most important out of a trio of antitrust cases against Google because of Android’s enormous growth potential.

A third case, which has not yet concluded, involves Google’s AdSense product. Competition authorities have said Google prevented third parties using its product from displaying search advertisements from Google’s competitors.

Vestager has also ordered a series of measures against other U.S. companies over tax practices in some EU states, notably demanding two years ago that the Irish government take back up to 13 billion euros from Apple Inc.

Some U.S. officials have complained that the Commission is following a protectionist course, while Vestager, a former Danish minister who is seen as a rising star in EU politics, insists she is merely enforcing laws to protect consumers.

(Additional reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels Eric Auchard in London, Jonathan Weber in Singapore and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; writing by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Jason Neely)

© Thomson Reuters 2018

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Volvo XC40 Achieves Five Star Rating In Euro NCAP Crash Test


According to the data released by European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), the new Volvo XC40 has received a five star rating in the latest crash test results. The Volvo XC40 scored 97 per cent for adult occupant protection, putting it amongst the top five cars for this aspect of safety tested by Euro NCAP in the last three years. With this, the XC40 joins its larger siblings in the 60 and 90 series as one of the safest cars on the roads.

Volvo XC40

46.66 Lakh * On Road Price (New Delhi)

Volvo XC40

Also Read: All New Volvo XC60 Is The Safest SUV In Latest Euro NCAP Testing

“The new XC40 is one of the safest cars on the market,” said Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “It comes standard with the largest offering of safety technology of any small SUVs, helping drivers detect and avoid collisions, remain safely in their lane and reduce the impact of accidentally running off the road.”

Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General, Euro NCAP said, “It’s good to see that manufacturers in the premium sector are responding to our tough new requirements introduced in 2018 by fitting technologies that will save lives.”

Also Read: Volvo XC40 Review: India Spec Driven

The new Volvo XC40 joins the likes of the XC60, the S90 and V90 in making history for Volvo Cars as the first manufacturer to hold all top three car rankings in Euro NCAP’s Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) tests – AEB City, AEB Inter-Urban and AEB Pedestrian. The four Volvo cars are the only cars to have achieved perfect scores in all three AEB categories.

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The Volvo S90 and Volvo V90 scored highly at the Euro NCAP 2017 Best in Class awards, achieving 95 per cent in Adult Occupant category and 93 per cent in Safety Assist category.

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All New Euro 6 Diesel Cars Are Still Highly Polluting, Says Study


A new study reveals that all new Euro 6 compliant vehicles running in Europe currently has higher count of NOx emissions. On the other hand, all Euro 6 petrol cars are performing much better than its diesel counterparts. The Real Urban Emissions Initiative (TRUE) made public a ratings system reflecting real-world emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) measured for over 90 per cent of passenger car registrations in Europe. The rating uses a simple green/yellow/red (good/moderate/poor) scheme to profile the European vehicle fleet as well as vehicle families and individual vehicle models.

Also Read: German City of Hamburg To Ban Older Diesel Vehicles

“This initial project is an important first step,” said Rachel Muncrief, program director for the ICCT, “but remote sensing could take us very much further in terms of our ability to monitor, analyze, and control vehicle pollutant emissions and gain control of Europe’s urban air-quality problem.”

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(All New Euro 6 Diesel Cars Are Still Highly Polluting, Says New Study)

TRUE is a partnership of the FIA Foundation, the International Council on Clean Transportation, the Global New Car Assessment Programme, Transport and Environment, and C40 Cities, which seek to bring transparency on vehicle emissions and urban air quality. It is the largest collection of data brought to bear thus far on the problem of air pollution from vehicles in Europe.

Also Read: Daimler Threatened With Recall Of Over 600,000 Diesel Models

The International Council on Clean Transportation calculated the ratings for approximately 4,850 vehicle models, nearly all designed and built to Euro standards 3-6. Further analysis of this initial data offers additional insight into excess NOx emissions in the EU. The report revealed that four manufacturer groups had average emissions more than 12 times above the Euro 6 diesel type-approval limit, and the highest-emitting vehicle family has emissions 18 times the limit. However, all the Euro 6 diesel models rated exceeded the Euro 6 diesel NOX emissions limits measured in real-world driving. The highest-emitting petrol Euro 6 vehicle family has approximately the same level of NOx emissions as the lowest-emitting diesel vehicle family. The Euro 5 diesel families performed particularly poorly as all had NOx emissions at least twice the limit, and the worst had emissions 18 times the limit.

Also Read: Porsche To Recall 60,000 Diesel Engined SUVs In Europe

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The initial data set comprises samples collected from France, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom over the past ten years and pooled together in the CONOX project, funded by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment. The data set presently holds 750,000 records. The TRUE ratings were developed from a subset of 375,000 measurements, excluding trucks and vans and any incomplete measurements.

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