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Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi died in Milan

Jul 14, 2013 12:30 IST

Ottavio QuattrocchiControversial Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who was a key figure in the Bofors payoffs scandal, on 13 July 2013 died in Milan, Italy following a stroke. He was 74 years old.Ottavio Quattrocchi was an Italian businessman who was being sought until early 2009 in India for criminal charges for acting as a conduit for bribes in the Bofors scandal.The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named Quattrocchi in a chargesheet as the conduit for the Bofors bribe. The case against him was strengthened in June 2003.
On the basis of the Interpol warrant he was detained in Argentina on 6 February 2007. The CBI had come under attack for putting up a half-hearted effort towards his extradition.

Quattrocchi was born in Mascali, province of Catania, Sicily. He had arrived in India in the mid 1960s as the representative of Italian oil and gas firm Eni and its engineering arm Snamprogetti. His family came close to the Gandhi family based on their connection with Rajiv Gandhi's Italian wife Sonia Gandhi, now the president of the ruling Indian National Congress party. In 1984, a tender was issued for Howitzer guns for the Indian Army. After evaluation, the French Sofma gun was found to be the best in terms of price and features. The Army required a range of 30 km. Army chief Krishnaswamy Sundarji had favoured the Sofma because during field trials it showed its range as 29.2 km against 21.5 for Bofors.

Moreover, Bofors was permitted to alter its bid without re-tendering. As a result, inspite of the objections of the army and others, the order went to Bofors. The Bofors scandal hit limelight after a 1987 report on Swedish radio. It claimed that Bofors had paid bribes to secure the contract.

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