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February 5, 2023

UN report: Romania sold weapons to terrorists

State-run arms manufacturer Romarm sold weapons to international arms dealer Monzer al Kassar in 2007, according to a report by the United Nations’ Institute for Disarmament Research, quoted by capital.ro and taken over by several publications. State institutions have not made any official comment on the report, daily ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ noted. Monzer al Kassar was sentenced by a US court in February, for agreeing to supply weapons to the banned Columbian terrorist organization FARC. He was convicted after a long sting operation conducted by the DEA, in which he was paid substantial sums of money to procure weapons, including sophisticated surface-to-air missiles. The weapons were to be purchased from Romarm, which, as far as the written records show, did not obstruct the sale, the UN report shows. The document also quotes a US agent as saying that al Kassar ultimately received more than USD 400,000 for the weapons deal, “in funds represented to be FARC drug proceeds, but which in fact came from DEA undercover bank accounts.”

Moreover, the agent says that al Kassar had repeated contact with his long-established arms suppliers in Bulgaria and Romania and he travelled to both countries to finalize arrangements to procure the weapons for FARC.

Substantial sums of money began to be sent by the undercover agents of the DEA to bank accounts controlled by al Kassar and it is clear from the US court documents that al Kassar, in turn, successfully negotiated with Romarm and others to add surface-to-air missiles to the order, the report notes. During his journey to Romania and Bulgaria al Kassar received quotations for prices from two defence companies: Armitrans (Bulgaria) and Romarm. The US agent quoted in the report makes it clear that “some of the weapons had been procured by al Kassar from Romarm” and that at one point, “al Kassar indicated that he was in Romania, and that the weapons manufacturer was upset because al Kassar had promised them … money for the deal”.

This is the second arms scandal involving Romarm this year after in August, parts of the media revealed that President Traian Basescu’s brother, Mircea Basescu, was shareholder in a company planning to run weapon deals. The company also gathered several military experts and defence officials.

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