Court denies attorney general's request to reopen civil registry case

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A local court in Chilean capital Santiago has denied a request from the attorney general's office to reopen the civil registry case, an investigation of alleged irregularities in a tender for a US$80mn contract to upgrade the registry's technological platform, local press reported.

The request was made by metropolitan region attorney Andrés Montes, who argued that all requirements ordered in November last year had been met, after judge Carla Capello temporarily dismissed the criminal investigation.

The judge dismissed the case under the consideration that the defense's rights had been violated, as defense lawyers were unable to access the case history due to confusion in the process.

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Capello based her decision on the overwhelming amount of evidence gathered during the investigation, along with missing records, such as emails, computers and the results of pending procedures.

But now judge Ponciano Sallés has denied the attorney general's request to reopen the case, pointing to persisting gaps and inconsistencies in the documents and evidence presented by the public prosecutor.

Former civil registry head Guillermo Arenas was accused of tax fraud and disclosure of secret information after he and an adviser, Andrés Contardo, allegedly informed Indian IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on the inner workings of the contract process.

Tata was granted the contract in 2008, but it was later revoked after the discrepancies surfaced.