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Expert: Patria Selling Grenade Launchers to Saudis

The Finnish majority-state-owned defence contractor Patria is indirectly selling weapons systems to Saudi Arabia, according to an arms expert interviewed by YLE.

Nemo-kranaatinheitinjärjestelmä Image: Patria

Jarmo Pykälä, a researcher at the left-leaning think-tank SaferGlobe Finland, was interviewed on the current affairs programme A-studio on Wednesday evening.

He said that Patria is selling Nemo mortar turrets to a Canadian company that is fitting them onto tanks it is manufacturing for the United States. Some of these in turn are being sold to Saudi Arabia, which the programme describes as one of the world's least democratic countries.

Patria declined to confirm or deny the report, citing its customer's request not to discuss the deal.

No Export Permit

Finnish arms exports must be approved by the Council of State or the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

No application for such a permit has been filed, although the contract was signed last November, according to A-studio.

Neither the MoD nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would comment on the deal, although the MoD confirmed that no official export permit application had been filed.

According to Pykälä, the contract is probably the largest Finnish arms deal so far in this century, potentially worth as much as 150 million euros.

That is double the country's average annual arms exports and would make Saudi Arabia one of Finland's three biggest arms trade partners.

Patria is one of the world's leading manufacturers of tank mortar turrets.

Sources: YLE

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