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‘Corruption and bribery’: a storm in Romania over the signing of a huge agreement with IAI

A media storm in Romania over the signing of a huge agreement between the Romanian security company IAR BRASOV and the aerospace industry, for the development and construction of drones on Romanian soil.

The aerospace industry announced a few days ago in a press release the signing of the contract, in which unmanned aerial vehicles based on the technological platform of the UAV (also known as Tactical Heron) will be built in Romania.

According to the agreement between the two companies, the UAV will be built at a security plant in the city of Brasov, and the aerospace industry will establish a special academy for the training of local operating teams and technological teams.

The cooperation between the two companies was born against the background of a large tender by the Romanian government to equip unmanned aircraft, and in view of the requirements, in Romania that companies bidding in tenders of this type will establish a joint company with a local company.

Elbit is also expected to compete in the center, but it seems that some of the competitors of the Israeli companies have decided to enter into a particularly aggressive battle already at these stages of the tender.

The Israeli Aerospace Industry has been in Romania for many years, and has led a number of projects. Elbit is also very present in the Eastern European country. In a statement, IAI announced that the Romanian company will lead the joint project, and the Romanian engineers will be the ones to lead the project to develop an advanced UAV based on the Israeli Eitan.

“Corruption, biased officials and international intrigue”

Shortly after the official announcement by IAI on Friday, Romanian media published lengthy articles against Israeli companies, claiming that it was involved in bribery cases around the world.

The website Ziare.com published a long and detailed article entitled “The series of scandals involving Israeli companies that come to build unmanned aerial vehicles in Romania. Corruption, biased officials and international intrigue.”

The article reveals that both Elbit and IAI intend to build UAVs on Romanian soil, and the only condition for Israeli investment was a commitment by the Romanian Ministry of Defense to equip the UAVs in question.

In the summer, the Romanian Ministry of Defense received approval from the Romanian Parliament to equip unmanned aerial vehicles, costing close to three hundred million dollars.

The article elaborates on cases in which IAI’s name was linked, cases that were exposed, among other things, by a group of international investigative journalists. According to reports, IAI has transferred more than $ 150 million to two bank accounts linked to Azerbaijan – a country with which billions of years worth of security agreements have been signed.

The article also reports on the IAI arrests in 2017, which were linked to a corruption case that included bribe payments and bidding for tenders for subcontractors. As for Elbit, the article mentions the fact that the company has been working in Romania for thirty years, has set up several factories and employs hundreds of workers. However, the article details past events associated with Elbit in countries such as Bulgaria, Nigeria, Colombia and Ethiopia.

The allegations are exceptional in their sharpness against Israel

The troubling part of the article concerns very serious accusations against Elbit and IAI, which have an anti-Israel scent in the BDS style at worst, or antisemitic at worst.

The author of the article accuses that the weapons of the two companies participated in a “massacre” against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and that the companies conducted tests of their tools on Palestinians.

In fact, much of the article published in ZIARE.COM is devoted to what Israel is allegedly doing in Judea and Samaria. However, this is not an ordinary statement, but an exceptional accusation of sharpness that includes unilateral expressions against Israel and against Israeli companies.

In addition, the article provides examples of transactions that have failed or been canceled in the past in Brazil, France or Switzerland. According to the article, because of the Israeli companies’ violation of human and civil rights.

The website FLUX24 published an article entitled “Israelis who will build aircraft in Brasov – experts in bribery.”

The article also cites IAI past cases and suspicions reported by Deutsche Bank to US authorities that IAI has transferred millions of dollars to two Azeri companies in order to bribe senior officials in Azerbaijan and promote projects and tenders.

IAI refused to comment on articles published in the Romanian media, but sources in the company told Ynet that this is a conduct familiar to the company from other marketers over the years. However, it seems that the aerospace industry was also surprised by the harsh terms attached to the company. “The battles are fierce all over the world,” said an IAI source, “fighting against us, and this is tough competition.”

Political sources told Ynet that the issue is known to them and that they are following the various publications in Romania, but it is not yet clear what Israel intends to do about it – if at all. For now, in Romania the story is gaining momentum and is quoted in various media.

Source: Attila Somfalvi – YNET

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