Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Cautionary Tale for Weapons Sellers in Chile

The acquisition of night-vision goggles for Chile's Army has raised suspicions of favoritism. An article in El Mercurio explains how the bidding process was mysteriously voided at the last minute and led to a complaint to the government's comptroller. The Greek company Theon is accusing the Army of revising the bid requirements in ways that favor a rival company represented by Virgilio Cartoni, a former Army officer who now works for a host of defense companies. Theon's goggles, the article says, finished first, second and third in the competition for the contract. In fourth place was the bid Cartoni represents. The bidding process was restarted, and some new requirements favored Cartoni's client, the article adds. The Army, for its part, blamed administrative errors and normal revisions in the procurement process. It's unclear how far the second competition has gone so far. The Army is seeking more than 3,000 night-vision goggles. As the representative for many arms suppliers, Cartoni has been a key middleman in the Army's acquisition of missiles, munitions, spare parts and other equipment.

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