Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Arms International: U.S. military helicopters, Israeli sell at $20:, Spanish resellers at $140:, Iran and Venezuela are buyers.

Nine Bell 212 helicopters similar to this one, have been seized by Spanish police before being ilegally sold to Iran and Venezuela.

Spanish police stopped the illegal sale of nine military transport helicopters – Bell 212- to Iran and chopper spare parts to Venezuela.  The police operation, which took place simultaneously in Madrid and Barcelona, led to the arrests of five Spanish businessmen and three Iranian nationals, reports say. The five Spanish businessmen are suspected of trying to export the US-made aircraft, while the three Iranians are accused of negotiating the purchase of military material.

According to the Israeli news media Haaretz, the U.S. made helicopters were sold by Israel’s defense ministry to a Spanish businessman named Pedro Matorna, who intended to sell them for fire-fighting services in Spain.  The helicopters had been in storage after years of use by the Israeli Air Force. The Spanish businesspeople paid $20 million to the Israeli Defense Ministery, and the deal between Israel and the Spanish was made with U.S. government approval, given that the helicopters were manufactured in the U.S. The purchase was approved after Matorna’s company submitted documents declaring that the helicopters would be sold on for use in fire-fighting services.

When it turned out that the helicopters were unsuitable for this use, the Spanish company looked for another buyer in order to get rid of the stock, planning to sell them on to Iran.

The Spanish bought the helicopters for $20 million (according to israeli media Haaretz) and the sales price to the Iranians (allegedly Iran´s military) was $140 million (100 million euros) . A $120 million spread..  The difference in both amounts also show that the Spaniards allegedly knew they were doing something illegal, and the risk was priced in $120 million. And the iranians were buying very expensive, for sure…

Iran is banned from buying attack helicopters under UN sanctions.

In the operation, dubbed “Nam”, the police raided industrial warehouses in Madrid and Barcelona and snatched helicopters destined for Iran, and aviation spare parts allegedly destined for export to Venezuela.

The total value of the helicopters and spares to be paid by the Iranians was 100m euros ($140m), the police said.

The helicopters, which were used to transport troops and military equipment in Israel, and spares for these type of helicopters were being prepared for assembly and disassembly before export to Iran and Venezuela, police said. The choppers have a top speed of 230 kph (140 mph) and an average range of 600 kilometres (370 miles).

Police said they found out -allegedly from intelligence sources- about the arrival in Spain of the Iranian purchasers who had come to formalise the deal which led to their operation being launched.

The Spanish companies flouted export requirements, failing to obtain licences for the export of military materiel or so-called dual-use goods that can have military applications, police said.

Under UN sanctions adopted last year, Iran is banned from buying heavy weapons such as attack helicopters and missiles