Via The Local:
Two Swedish military agencies at the centre of a scandal over plans to help build a weapons factory in Saudi Arabia also secretly paid millions of kronor to a Russian arms expert for information relevant to the project, a new report has revealed.
In March, Sveriges Radio (SR) revealed that the Swedish Defense Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut – FOI) had created a shell company to oversee construction of a factory in Saudi Arabia for the maintenance and upgrade of anti-tank missile systems.
The company was set up in order to avoid any direct ties between the project and the Swedish government and cash for starting the company was provided by the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service (Militära underrättelse- och säkerhetstjänsten – MUST).
While a probe into the legality of the controversial plan, known as Project Simoom, was dropped in September, a new SR report on Wednesday revealed that FOI and MUST secretly paid a Russian weapons expert for information FOI needed in order to complete a study related to the construction of the factory.
According to SR, experts at FOI needed help in their efforts to help provide Saudi Arabia with the information required for the country to develop a domestic arms industry.
Through informal channels, the agency identified a Russian expert with ties to the Russian state who could provide the information FOI needed.
It is nevertheless good news that Sweden has good ties with Russia, and of course Sweden should cooperate on Russia in all fields since there are common interests shared.
The development of Saudi Arabia is in everybody’s interest.