Swiss stage raids after arms group flags questionable deals

Arms deals between Swiss citizens and the Russian government are currently being investigated. (Reuters pic)

ZÜRICH: Swiss federal prosecutors staged raids after state arms group RUAG flagged potential violations of the country’s war materiel act, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said on Thursday.

The raids were a response to a report by the Handelszeitung newspaper that RUAG was searched in connection with an investigation of arms deals with Russia for President Vladimir Putin’s bodyguards.

The OAG confirmed it had received a report of a criminal offense from RUAG and had opened criminal proceedings in connection with the federal act on war materiel, criminal mismanagement, and possibly misconduct in public office.

“RUAG is cooperating fully with the prosecuting authorities. The OAG is not going to comment further on the pending criminal proceedings,” it said in a statement.

RUAG was not immediately available for comment but Handelszeitung quoted the company as saying: “After being made aware of the allegations by a whistleblower, RUAG immediately launched an internal investigation and filed a criminal complaint with the OAG.”

The paper said the case centred on deals with Russia in which an executive at ammunitions business Ammotec and a Julius Baer banker in Russia covertly colluded for years on arms deals.

Private Bank Julius Baer said it was aware of the allegations and was looking into them. “The employee in question will be suspended during the investigation,” a spokeswoman said.