The documents, which include a letter of interest (LoI) from International Armour – a NATO licensed arms dealer in Greece – were leaked to Sputnik today by a European businessman.
International Armour (NATO Cage Code G2181) operates additional offices in the UK, Serbia and Cyprus, and attempted to purchase an array of Russian weaponry – including 50,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 5,000 SVD sniper rifles, 200 tanks of the T-72 range, and 50 9M133 Cornet anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) launchers – in the second quarter of 2015.
Details within the documents tying the businessman and his company to the attempted procurement deal have been hidden, at his request.
- International Armour's leaked letter of interest (LoI) sent on May 19, 2015 (page 1 of 3)© Sputnik /
- International Armour's leaked letter of interest (LoI) - Page 2 of 3© Sputnik /
- International Armour's leaked letter of interest (LoI) - Page 3 of 3© Sputnik /
- Iraq arms request (page 1 of 2)© Sputnik /
- Iraq arms request (page 2 of 2)© Sputnik /
Another document, in which Iraqi authorities tasked International Armour with acquiring the aforementioned list of Russian arms on its behalf, was also leaked to Sputnik on Tuesday.
The businessman added that Baghdad’s strong interest in Russian weaponry underscores the strength of Russia’s defense industry and the superiority Russian and Soviet-era weapons enjoy over NATO alternatives, in terms of value for money.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the businessman said it’s normal for defense contractors who don’t have access to Rosoboronexport – Russia’s state exporter of military hardware and other technologies – to approach him for access to Russia’s defense industry, but he described such a large order of Russian armaments by a NATO arms dealer as “unusual” and suggested there could be a more sinister motive behind the attempted procurement of Russian arms, without elaborating.
Baghdad is believed to have opted to bolster its defense capabilities with Russia’s T-90 tanks instead of the US-manufactured M1 Abrams tank due to the lower unit cost of the T-90, and a dispute with Washington over the presence of M1 Abrams tanks in the hands of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) – a series of Iran-backed militias.
It’s unclear if International Armour had any involvement in Iraq’s recent acquisition of T-90 tanks from Russia.