Swiss authorities come to state defense company office with search warrant over weapon supplies to Russia

Swiss authorities come to state defense company office with search warrant over weapon supplies to Russia
Photo: Reuters

RUAG, a defense enterprise, is under suspicion.

The Swiss Prosecutor's Office has conducted searches at the office of the state defense company RUAG.

The newspaper Handelszeitung wrote that the company is believed to be directly linked with possible illegal supplies of weapons to Russia. The Swiss Prosecutor's Office has already opened a criminal case about this.

Handelszeitung was told by informed sources in the Prosecutor's Office that the staff working in Ammotec ammunition unit of RUAG and the head of a private bank Julius Baer have been supplying weapons to several countries, including Russia, for years, ​​behind the back of their employers. The deal is worth millions of dollars.

The investigation believes that this could lead to bribes from the company’s staff. The arms deal is associated with technical equipment and weapons for the defense of the countries’ presidents.

The publication was able to find out that MIL and Agusta Westland helicopters, type AW-139, were upgraded with the active support by the Swiss company, and the Federal Guard Service was equipped with $15.000.000 observation instruments that allow to identify any land target day and night. Besides, the Swiss company supplied Sig Sauer pistols and sniper rifles worth several million dollars, according to the publication.

The newspaper claims that the scheme relied on the principle of "relations, bribes and kickbacks". They were used to sell weapons, security items (including bulletproof vests) and microdrons for special services in a number of states. The newspaper claims the Swiss banker was at the core of the criminal group – he "has lived in Russia for decades and runs a fake Russian company."

Despite the fact that all the contracts signed by the parties were legal and passed all the necessary approval procedures, the managers acted clandestinely to keep the commission for the transactions. The Swiss Prosecutor's Office considers the transactions illegal.

The company claims that Russia was the priority customer, followed by the CIS states and Mexico. The first contract was signed in 2010. According to the contractors, the estimated cost was between 50 million and 150 million US dollars. Under the helicopter contract, "the employees of the Russian state company that is part of the Rosatom group and, possibly, some Federal Guard Service officials were paid bribes"; even though the cooperation agreement did not imply any "payments to third parties ", according to the newspaper.

The Swiss Prosecutor's Office, in cooperation with their Russian counterparts are working on the case. The anti-corruption department of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs joined the investigation. An employee of Julius Baer Bank (part of the Swiss banking group of the same name) has been questioned in Moscow.

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