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Heckler & Koch probed over Mexico arms sales

The Local · 22 Dec 2010, 11:47

Published: 22 Dec 2010 11:47 GMT+01:00

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A spokeswoman for the firm said authorities suspected Heckler & Koch of breaching German arms export laws that forbid sales to zones of conflict.

The manufacturer, based in Oberndorf in the state of Baden-Württemberg, has allegedly sold rifles since 2005 to four Mexican states in which human rights abuses have taken place.

The firm has a lawful export licence to other parts of Mexico, a spokeswoman for the state prosecutor in the Baden-Württemberg capital Stuttgart said on Tuesday. However, the four states in question are excluded from this licence.

The United States cut aid to Mexico in September over what it deemed human rights abuses by Mexican soldiers battling drug gangs. Mexico's military is playing a leading role in Mexican President Felipe Calderón's war against drug cartels, but soldiers have faced growing accusations of arbitrary murder and torture. At least 21,000 people have died in drug-related violence since the crackdown began in December 2006.

Twenty investigators confiscated a large quantity of documents from Heckler & Koch’s head office in Oberndorf. The firm confirmed it was being investigated but denied the accusations. It vowed to co-operate with authorities in the ongoing investigation.

Heckler & Koch is claiming it does not work with any particular state in Mexico, but rather sells weapons only to the responsible authorities under control of the Mexican Defence Ministry, according to public broadcaster ARD. This had been approved by German authorities, the firm says.

It has no control, it says, over how the ministry then distributes the guns.

Story continues below…

Heckler & Koch also complained that the Stuttgart state prosecutor’s accusations had not been presented in a legally clear way that the firm could review.

DPA/The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:28 December 22, 2010 by DinhoPilot

Looks like every major german company is involved in mambo jambo corrupt deals or business! Car makers (Mercedez), Bank (DB), weapon companies (submarines in portugal, now guns in mexico), construction companies and of course the well know briberies across Africa... corruption is really a cancer powered by money.
12:59 December 22, 2010 by tallady
you forgot to mention SAP and its 1.3 billion dollar settlement it must pay Oracle for stealing their software...ah what to hell nobody is perfect.
13:17 December 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I'm still waiting for the "guns don't kill people" canard.
13:52 December 22, 2010 by SRaab
Guns don´t kill people.

German gun makers, suppling guns to Mexico, and where ever else kills people.

of course as long as germany profits off this, no harm done, Right?
17:08 December 22, 2010 by sebastian2010
I belive alomost ALL western country sell guns to almost any country with cash. I own 6 from all different countrys and orderd the legaly over the phone.
03:10 December 25, 2010 by Texican74
H&K is probably lacking way behind the Russians. After all Venzulea is now a manufacturing arena for the AK's. Shpments to Mexico are quicker, cheaper and with fewer tarrifs involved! Sure with H&K would ship more product to Texas (USA) we need the firepower up here ....
16:28 December 25, 2010 by SockRayBlue
I'll be dipped.....Those darn guns are expensive to buy in the USA, but apparently H&K gives the Mexicans a sweet deal on them. Thanks for the heads up now I have to go to Mexico for a decent price on guns. Something to do on my next trip south for low cost middle aged pharmaceuticals.
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