Swiss open criminal probe into state arms maker over Russia deals

AFP - [email protected] • 22 Mar, 2018 Updated Thu 22 Mar 2018 15:58 CEST
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Swiss prosecutors said on Thursday they have opened a criminal investigation into state arms producer RUAG following a tipoff, reportedly over suspect weapons deals connected to Russian presidential bodyguards.

The office of Switzerland's attorney general (OAG) confirmed in an email to AFP it "has opened criminal proceedings in connection with the Federal Act on War Material, criminal mismanagement, and possibly misconduct in public office."

In a statement posted on Twitter, RUAG said it "found out via its internal whistleblower system that a manager was allegedly involved in a severe compliance breach.

"RUAG immediately notified authorities, pressed criminal charges and is fully cooperating with the investigation."

The OAG confirmed that the company initiated the probe and is cooperating, but provided no details about the individual concerned or the alleged offence.

Read also: The female politicians taking on the Swiss arms industry

"House searches have been conducted and various documentation/ data carriers have been secured," the OAG statement said Swiss financial paper Handelszeitung has reported that the probe centres on arms deals with Russia.

The paper said an official within RUAG's ammunition division, Ammotec, may have been covertly making deals with branches of the Russian security services tasked with protecting Russian President Vladimir Putin and other government officials.

RUAG describes itself as a technology firm offering products for air, space and land.

It manufactures military aircraft, heavy terrestrial weapons, in addition firearms and ammunition.



AFP 2018/03/22 15:58

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