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Finland's Patria sells armoured vehicles to UAE

The majority state-owned company has been granted an export license despite the UAE's involvement in the Yemeni conflict, and its own series of corruption scandals.

Panssariajoneuvo ajaa Vattajan hiekoilla
The Patria AMV is also produced in Poland under the name Rosomak. Image: Ari Vihanta / Yle

Finnish defence contractor Patria is selling 8x8 AMV (armoured modular vehicles) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) armed forces. Patria, which is majority state-owned, declined to say how many vehicles were involved or how much the deal is worth. It described the deal as "very significant" but that "all details of the contract are classified". However Yle has learned that the Council of State has issued an export permit indicating that 40 vehicles are to be delivered. The vehicles will actually be manufactured in Poland rather than Finland, though. Patria's Polish partner has been producing AMVs for more than a decade under the name Rosomak.

Mika Kari, president of the Patria Land Business Unit, says that the Polish firm has free capacity and is able to fill the order "on a very tight time schedule...One must also admit that Poland's lower labour costs provide a competitive edge," he adds, noting that there is fierce competition in the sector.

The AMV is a ground forces combat vehicle that can be equipped with various types of armament. The Patria deal does not include weaponry.

"No foreign or security policy obstacles"

The UAE is taking part in a Saudi Arabian-led war in Yemen, providing both air and ground troops.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement declares that it sees no foreign or security policy obstacles to granting an export permit," Defence Ministry ‎Ministerial Adviser Sanna Poutiainen told Yle.

Patria sold a "small number" of AMVs to the UAE in 2008, as well as Nemo mortar systems to its Navy.

Last year Patria executives were convicted of bribery in a case involving military supplies to Croatia. Earlier Patria corruption cases involved Austria, Egypt and Slovenia – where former premier Janez Janša resigned after Yle published a report accusing him of accepting bribes in 2008.

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