According to an investigation, conducted by the Stern magazine together with the ARD broadcaster, Rheinmetall has been shipping arms to Saudi Arabia through subsidiaries in Italy and South Africa.
Rheinmetall board member Helmut Merch reportedly admitted in a conference call with bankers in mid-November that these two export channels were "not affected" by the ban.
Merch estimated the annual exports at more than 100 million euros ($114 million), while Fabio Sgarzi, the chief of the company’s Italian division RWM Italia, said it planned to triple production capacity.
The German government suspended new arms sales in October until the circumstances of the journalist’s death at a Saudi consulate were cleared, and put the agreed deliveries on hold weeks later. Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. After weeks of denials, the Saudi chief prosecutor admitted that the US-based Washington Post columnist had been killed inside the diplomatic mission. The Saudi government claims he died as a result of a rogue operation.