Arms trading is subject to strict regulations.
According to the Swiss War Material Act, a license is required for the export or brokerage of weapons. In the case of Saudi Arabia, however, no permits are generally granted.
Nevertheless, a subsidiary of Ruag International helped to sell 2,500 pistols from a Croatian manufacturer to Saudi Arabia, the “Tages-Anzeiger” reported on Monday.
The Ruag Ammotec Hungary, which no longer belongs to the federal government, should help. She should assist in finding and contacting a buyer, then negotiating the price and arranging transportation. She should also contribute regulatory and technical knowledge. And she should obtain the necessary licenses. This emerges from an agreement that is available to the Tamedia research desk.
Three times wrong
Not only the Swiss War Material Act should stand in the way. The RUAG code of conduct itself stipulates that the principles of Swiss foreign policy should be the framework for the export of war material.
In addition, Ruag belongs to the federal government. The Federal Council therefore regularly sets strategic goals for the armaments group, just as it does for the Post Office and the SBB. These show that all RUAG companies, including subsidiaries, “act in accordance with the principles of Swiss foreign policy and follow Swiss export control legislation”.
Confronted with the prohibited agreement, a spokesman for Ruag told the newspaper that the contract was not executed but dissolved. The management prohibited the project when they found out about it.
The Croatian manufacturer also asserts that Ruag Ammotec was not an intermediary. The project was realized directly with the customer.
Contact already made
So no problem? no Because the mediation was already underway when the Ruag management intervened. An offer for 5000 pistols was offered. The amount was halved, but the deal apparently went through, according to a certificate from the Saudi Interior Ministry.
It explicitly lists Ruag Ammotec Hungary as an intermediary. However, the certificate reveals other details: the pistols, which the manufacturer advertises as a service weapon, were supposed to be sold to civilians at an exhibition for “falconry and hunting”. But they are clearly not hunting weapons.
Only commission was lost
The Hungarian Ruag subsidiary is also listed as an intermediary in the purchase agreement. The pistols cost 850,000 euros. According to the Tamedia research desk, the agent would have received a commission of 250,000 euros for the deal.
Ruag International emphasizes that the contract has been terminated. The internal controls would have taken effect. Which is probably true. However, this only happened after two months. One wishes afterwards that the subsidiary in Hungary had acted more prudently and one would not have had to intervene, according to a spokesman.
But just: The pistols are now in Saudi Arabia. These can be found on a website next to the logos of the Croatian manufacturer and the Saudi buyer. However, the Ruag logo is missing. Apparently the commission was waived. It is unclear to what extent the mediation by the Ruag subsidiary took place.
Ruag did not consider it necessary to inform the owner, i.e. the federal government. And the responsible defense department (DDPS) hardly seems to be interested in the case: “From the perspective of the DDPS, the situation is such that employees at a foreign location developed an inappropriate initiative,” said a department spokeswoman. The RUAG control mechanisms would have taken effect “before weapons were delivered or RUAG received payment for an intermediary activity”. According to the DDPS, the investigation has been completed. (tom)