Huge weapons cache seized from Swiss man suspected of selling arms to Austria

A 61-year-old Swiss man suspected of selling arms illegally to Austria has been arrested by police in St Gallen.

Huge weapons cache seized from Swiss man suspected of selling arms to Austria
Photo: St Gallen police
During a search of a property in Degersheim last week police seized 280 weapons, over 100,000 rounds of ammunition and 1.3 million francs in cash, St Gallen police said in a press release.
Among the weapons haul were submachine guns, grenades, pistols and rifles.
The man was suspected of illegally selling arms to Austria and has been the subject of a joint investigation by Austria and Swiss authorities for the past five months.
He is now in custody, accused of threatening public safety and violating the weapons act. 
The investigation is ongoing. 


Swiss weapons exports up 38 percent despite pandemic

Switzerland’s weapons exports have seen a 38 percent increase in 2020, according to official government figures.

Swiss weapons exports up 38 percent despite pandemic
Swiss weapons exports are on track for their highest year on record. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland exported CHF690 worth of weapons over the first nine months of 2020. That’s a 38 percent increase on the CHF500 million sold over the corresponding period in 2019. 

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) published the figures on Tuesday

The biggest customers for Swiss weaponry were Denmark, Indonesia and Germany. 

In total, 76 countries bought Swiss weapons during the period. 

According to current figures, weapons exports are on track to be the highest in Swiss history – beating the record of CHF893 million set in 2011. 

‘Death business is flourishing’ 

The news has been heavily criticised by a number of non-government organisations critical of weapons being sold to countries at war or who may use them against their own citizens. 

The Organisation for Switzerland without an Army (GSOA) and Terre des Hommes have been critical of the figures, particularly as the industry has called for a decrease in regulation in recent years. 

GSOA wrote in a statement “the death business is flourishing”. 

Saudi Arabia – currently involved in a conflict in Yemen – appear on the list, along with Brazil. Weapons opponents are concerned the Swiss exports could be used in the country’s slums, Der Bund reports