Citation(s) from the literature library

IANSA. 2007 ‘Gun Trafficking: How Brokers Navigate the Legal Loopholes: The end of the Cold War and the globalisation of the arms trade.’ Gun Violence: The Global Gun Crisis - 1000 Die Every Day, pp. 6-7. London: International Action Network on Small Arms. 1 January

Relevant contents

How Brokers Navigate the Legal Loopholes

This map shows how an Israeli broker, Leonid Minin, exploited the poor international controls on the arms trade to supply weapons to Liberia. Minin was arrested in a hotel in Italy in August 2000, and found to be in possession of diamonds, large amounts of cash and 1,500 documents in several languages related to transactions of oil, timber and arms. These transactions appeared to be mostly with Liberia -- a country under UN arms embargo since 1992.

In 1999, Minin had bought 68 tons of surplus military equipment, including 3000 AKM assault rifles and 1 million rounds of ammunition, from a Ukraine arms marketing firm called Ukrspetsexport. This transaction was brokered by Engineering and Technical Company Ltd, a shell company located in Gibraltar but registered in the British Virgin Islands, and reportedly owned by Minin. He provided an end-use certificate to Ukraine attesting that the weapons' ultimate destination would be Burkina Faso; however, that end-use certificate was forged.

The arms flew from Ukraine to Burkina Faso on an aircraft operated by a UK company, Air Foyle. Once it arrived, the cargo was transported directly to Monrovia, Liberia in several flights made by Minin's personal business jet. Payments for the arms from the Liberian government were made to a Hungarian bank account associated with the shell company Engineering and Technical Company.

Amnesty International reports that some of these weapons were later supplied to rebels in Liberia's neighbour, Sierra Leone, which was also under a UN arms embargo. Thus this arms deal by Leonid Minin led to at least one and possibly two violations of UN arms embargoes. Yet despite strong evidence against him, the Italian courts were unable to prosecute Minin for his trafficking activities because the arms transfer had not passed through Italian territory.

ID: Q120

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