Swiss defence firm searched over suspected Russian arms deal
The offices of the state-owned defence company RUAG were raided on Thursday by Swiss federal prosecutors as part of an investigation into suspected arms deals involving Russian President Vladimir Putin's bodyguards.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) confirmed that it had ordered a search of RUAG’s premises on Thursday morning following a report of a criminal offence, reported by the company itself. OAG added that it had opened criminal proceedings relating to the federal act on war materiel, criminal mismanagement and possibly misconduct in public office.
The Swiss state-owned defence contractor RUAG is reportedly cooperating fully with the prosecuting authorities.
The Handelszeitung newspaper External linkbroke the story on Thursday. The German-speaking business newspaper said the case allegedly involved an executive at RUAG’s ammunitions business Ammotec and a Julius Baer banker in Russia, who for years secretly arranged deals in technical equipment and weapons for Putin’s guards.
After being made aware of the allegations by a whistle-blower, RUAG said it had immediately launched an internal investigation and had filed a criminal complaint with the OAG.
In a statement released on Thursday, RUAG said that an employee had been fired immediately for these "unacceptable circumstances". It added that to the best of the company's knowledge, all export transactions related to the allegations were carried out "in conformity with legal regulations".
Julius Baer told Reuters that it was aware of the allegations and was investigating them, adding that the employee in question would be suspended.
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