The companies that sold weapons and non-lethal ammunition to the Chilean police during the massive protests between October 2019 and March 2020 are, for the most part, intermediaries, according to information obtained from Carabineros, the Chilean police, via the Transparency Law. Several have studies, and their professions do not seem to have much to do with the arms market.
A psychologist, an agronomist, a veterinarian, an electrical engineer and a publicist are part of the business of repression in Chile, without manufacturing a single weapon.
The only manufacturer that sold directly to the Chilean police was the state company Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército de Chile (FAMAE), specialized in the production of tear gas in grenade and cartridge format, as well as powder and liquid (the latter two for use in vehicles mainly riot).
These are the unexpected profiles that emerge after investigating the corporate structures of the rest of the intermediaries, available in public deeds and Chilean commercial records.
F and K Comercial Ltda
It sold more than $751,000 worth of 37mm CS cartridges to Carabineros, ammunition made by Sangaria Limited and Spain’s Wildox LCM. The business, according to information obtained from the police entity via the Transparency Law, was closed in 2019, with the ammunition being delivered at least three months later, in March 2020.
Founded in July 2011, F y K Comercial Limitada is owned by Francisco Murra Readi, a military engineer specializing in weapons, who owns 65% of the company, and Karim Andrea Murra Tafra, a clinical and educational psychologist, who owns 35% of the company. the company.
Francisco Murra has experience in the world of weapons. According to his LinkedIn profile, between 1999 and 2002 he was deputy manager of weapons at Factories and Maestranzas of the Chilean Army (FAMAE); between 2002 and 2006 he was head of the Engineering department at the Army Research and Control Institute (IDIC); and he is from 2006 to date an advisor to the company EXPAL Systems, a Spanish company specializing in the production of ammunition and explosives.
In addition to owning F and K Comercial Limitada, Murra Readi is Director of Communications at Yerpun Logistics, a company that claims to be a supplier to the Navy, Army, Air Force and Carabineros in Chile; but it does not record sales to these entities in the country’s public procurement portal.
Francisco Murra was contacted for the special The Business of Repression and consulted about sales to Carabineros during the protests. He assured that the weapons were delivered along with instructions for use and, when asked if he felt any responsibility in selling weapons to the police knowing that they were being misused, he indicated that “I cannot be watching Carabineros.” He also added that with his company they no longer engage in this type of operation, currently dedicating themselves to the sale of institutional clothing.
As for Karim Murra, according to her LinkedIn profile, she has dedicated her professional life to psychology, working mainly as a counselor and therapist in different educational establishments.
Azimuth Medical Devices SpA
Company specialized in the commercialization of hearing implants and other medical devices. He sold $404,640 worth of OC Neblina (oleoresin capsicum), known as pepper spray.
Founded in April 2015 by its current owner, the Chilean citizen born in Argentina, Esteban Duffour. It has a series of meetings with authorities of the Ministry of Health in Chile registered under lobbying law, all with the purpose of presenting and offering cochlear implants.
Duffour describes himself through his LinkedIn account as a “serial entrepreneur”, committed to “bringing novel solutions to complex problems”. According to his profile, the owner of Azimuth Medical Devices does not have much experience in the world of non-lethal weapons or in the Armed and Law Enforcement Forces.
Millennium Limited Commercial Company
They have a web page where they sell weapons, among other assault rifles, under the domain weapons1000.cl. They sold tear gas cartridges for $370,000 to Carabineros during the protests.
The Clip and Interference team also requested, through the Transparency Law, the historical record of the sale of gas-launching carbines and anti-riot shotguns to Carabineros. Millennium turns out to be the main player in this market: according to information provided by the institution, they sold 86% of the anti-riot shotguns purchased by the police, obtaining $408,000; in addition to 100% of purchases of gas-launching carbines for a total of $140,840. These sales occurred between 2013 and 2018, prior to the so-called Chilean social outbreak.
Initially founded under the name of Taurus Limitada in March 1999, it is currently owned by Aron and Salomón Goldbaum Molina, the latter being its majority shareholder.
Salomón defends conservative and far-right ideas through his Facebook account. A staunch defender of Israel and the possession of firearms, the main owner of Millennium is also a member of a shooting range in the Vitacura district, one of the most exclusive in the country.
According to records from the Chilean Electoral Service, Salomón Goldbaum contributed a small donation to the campaign of the former far-right presidential candidate, José Antonio Kast (member of the Republican Party, currently president of the international organization Political Network for Values; promoter of anti-abortion policies and contrary to sexual diversity). He handed over just over $70.
Importer and Marketer Mir y Cruz SpA
It was awarded (together with TEC Harseim), a series of purchase orders for tear gas cartridges, pellets and OC gas that accumulate more than one million dollars in sales.
Founded on December 30, 2008, it is currently owned by the marriage between Felipe Alejandro Mir Fernández, agronomist and owner of 80% of the company, and Catalina del Carmen Cruz Yávar, veterinarian and owner of the remaining 20%. In turn, they own a shop specializing in the sale of compressed air weapons, called Commando Store.
Tec Harseim SpA
TEC Harseim is the main producer of hunting ammunition in the country. It has supplied Carabineros for more than 30 years with anti-riot cartridges. The police institution indicated that the company sold white smoke grenades and pepper spray for a total of 107,000 between October and November 2019. To these sales are added another 12 for which Carabineros could not distinguish the intermediary, if it was Mir and Cruz SpA or Tec Harseim SpA; and that total 4.8 million dollars in grenades and Condor brand tear gas cartridges.
Prior to the Chilean social outbreak, specifically between 2012 and 2017, Tec Harseim supplied riot cartridges to Carabineros. The company made $922,000 through 10 different ammunition purchases over those five years. However, after the protests began in 2019, the Chilean police did not purchase pellets, being one of the most used elements during public order control tasks. As reported in this special, they did make purchases on multiple occasions for cartridges, grenades, tear gases and liquids.
Only in September 2021, when the demonstrations had already stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic, did the institution buy this ammunition again —although now from the Chilean Army—, so it is presumed that during the most critical months of protests used only Tec Harseim ammunition, at least two years old. A report prepared by the University of Chile confirmed that the Tec cartridges also contained lead, a dangerous metal for human health. According to the study, the pellets were composed of only 20% rubber, the remaining 80% being lead, silicon and barium sulfate.
According to Chilean property records, Tec Harseim was incorporated on August 16, 1977 by brothers Bernardo, Enrique, Eric, Alex and Carlos Harseim Hein; all industrial engineers. Over the years, the five brothers transferred ownership of the company to different companies, all made up of themselves along with their wives and children; in addition to a third actor within the company, Alfonso de Iruarrizaga, manager of Tec Harseim and former Chilean Olympic athlete, silver medalist in shooting during the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
Currently, Tec Harseim SpA has a capital of 1,300,000,000 pesos (1.5 million dollars) which is divided into the same number of shares. The five brothers each own 1,300 shares, while in their family businesses they own between 230,948 and 248,300 shares of Tec Harseim SpA. The structure Inmobiliaria e Inversiones Alcon Limitada, owned by Alfonso de Iruarrizaga, closes.
Defense Representations and Projects
A single purchase of tear gas cartridges was awarded for 62,000.
Founded in February 2016, its owners are Juan Julio Riquelme Vergara, a pilot and former Army officer, and his son, Benjamin Riquelme Ahumada, a publicist.
Riquelme Vergara was involved in businesses questioned by the Money Laundering division of the Chilean Investigative Police, a situation revealed by the Center for Journalistic Investigation in Chile (Ciper). Riquelme father was a technical advisor to El Alba, dedicated to aeronautical management in defense matters. This company won a tender for the maintenance of the CASA CN232 aircraft.
Riquelme Sr. acted as a liaison between the company and the Army Aviation Brigade (BAVE) to manage invoices for maintenance work that was never provided. A report from the Chilean Investigative Police’s Money Laundering division in 2009 confirmed that the services paid to El Alba “present irregularities or at least present documentation that does not support the acquisition or repair of aircraft elements.”
BAVE disbursed $800,000 for the services, paid for in payments that never exceeded $300,000. It is suspected that if the payment had been higher than what was finally agreed upon, it would have required the approval of the Army’s Permanent Acquisitions Committee, chaired by the Chief of Staff. Due to these facts, the company is being investigated by the courts.
Commercial FF EIRL
He sold more than $499,000 worth of grenades, powder and tear gas.
Owned by José Fabio Fuentes Marrazzo, a 51-year-old industrial civil engineer.
A collaborative and cross-border investigation of the Latin American Center for Journalistic Investigation, El Clip together with Political Animal from Mexico, zero seventy from Colombia, Duty from Bolivia, Cocuyo effect of Venezuela, El País America, The universe from Ecuador, Interference From Chile, Non-fiction from Guatemala, Amphibious Magazine from Argentina, LOU from Brazil and Telemundo News from the United States.
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