Saturday, March 12, 2011

MMRCA goes hot : the Rafale team under bribery attacks

The tension surrounding the Indian deal is increasing fast since it has been announced that the shortlist could be made public next month.
Rumors of bribery attempts during Aero India have surfaced : Apparently, an India officer in charge of the static display tried to get money from Dassault in exchange of a better slot on the parking. Dassault complained to the Aero India authorities who set a trap to catch the man when he came to get the money. What is very odd is the amount of the bribe asked by the officer, which is ridiculous (less than $500)
One might wonder why someone would take risks for such a small price unless, may be, it was a deliberate attempt to discredit Dassault.

A quite similar case occured during the final run of the Korean contest in 2002. The Dassault Rafale was then competing against the Boeing F-15K. After the end of the technical evaluation, the Rafale was leading the race and Dassault was suddenly accused to have bribed a Korean officer to promote the Rafale offer. It is worth noting that the bribe in question was also very low ($8,300) and eventually proved to be bogus.

It seems that the history is repeating in India and that the game is once again turning dirty. Since the begining of the MMRCA competition, the Indian authorities have insisted on the fact that bribery would not be tolerated. In this context, one tricky mind might try to manipulate his competitors and  lead them to make an illegal move that would disqualify them..

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