Weapons for #Libya’s Haftar or #Yemen from an EU country? Bulgaria’s booming arms trade continues to grow: Swiss flag cargo vessel Thorco Basilisk transits Bosphorus towards Med carrying weapons from Burgas to Port Said if Libya or to a Saudi port if cargo destined for Yemen
Leaked arms dealers’ passports reveal who supplies terrorists in Yemen: Serbia files (Part 4)
Follow up to:
On 10 March 2019 GIM re-exported Serbian weapons from the port of Burgas, in Bulgaria, to Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, on the ship Bow Diamond, sailing under the flag of Gibraltar.
On 28 June 2019 the Swiss cargo vessel Thorco Basilisk sailed from the port of Burgas, Bulgaria to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, carrying 21 containers with 43,000 pcs. of Serbian mortar shells.
Documents reveal that the Saudi Defense Ministry has commissioned private contractors from the USA and UAE (all of whom are American nationals), to purchase and transport the Serbian weapons. Such private contractors are often used by secret services for covert operations involving illegal activities abroad. According to leaked documents, private contractors from the USA and UAE were tasked with the delivery of 20,000 pcs. of Grad rockets from Serbia to Saudi Arabia in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The end user is not indicated in the contract. Furthermore, the Saudi army does not use such rockets.
In 2016 the Serbian company Krupnik signed a $ 69.72 million contract with the arms manufacturer Krusik for the delivery of 20,000 pcs. of 122 mm Grad rockets to Saudi Arabia. Krupnik and Krusik signed another three contracts for the delivery of 9,000 pcs. of 120 mm M87P2, ILL mortar shells, 7,600 pcs. of 82 mm M74P1(white phosphorus) mortar shells, and 85,000 pcs. of 82 mm M74 HE mortar shells to Saudi Arabia.
The private contractors are not mentioned in any of the documents about these exports. However, leaked letters from the exporter Krupnik to the manufacturer Krusik reveal that these rockets and mortar shells (including white phosphorus) were taken from the factory by private contractors. Leaked passports reveal the identities of the people involved. The exact role of these private contractors is not specified in any of the documents. However, their nationality (USA, Bulgaria, Romania) suggests an international joint operation.
On 17 April 2017, representatives of the Serbian exporter Krupnik visited the arms factory for final inspection of the ordered weapons along with a delegation of nine foreigners: two Saudis from the Ministry of Defense of Saudi Arabia, two Americans from Heptagon Global Trading, UAE, one American national from Armytrans Ltd., USA, one American from Tradewinds Logistics Group, USA, one Bulgarian and two Romanians, also from Tradewinds Logistics Group, USA.
On 10 and 11 December 2018 the same foreigners visited Krusik again to take the rest of the ordered weapons, along with four other Saudi officials from the Defense Ministry of Saudi Arabia.
The American national Paul McKeon Miller Evans, who visited Krusik to inspect the Saudi-purchased weapons as representative of Armytrans, USA in 2017, was listed as project manager at Heptagon Global Trading, UAE, during his second visit in 2018.
Another American national, Helmut G. Mertins, who visited Krusik as director of Heptagon Global Trading, UAE, appears to have been involved in deals on the Balkans for at least 10 years. Photos published on Facebook in 2009 show him posing next to a Silk Way Airlines plane at Plovdiv Airport in Bulgaria.
Armytrans USA, Heptagon Global Trading UAE, and Tradewinds Logistics USA, whose employees visited Krusik to inspect and accept the Saudi-purchased weapons, are not party to the contract with the Serbian arms factory. However, these companies accepted and transported the weapons out of Serbia. The common element are their American employees.
Furthermore, Heptagon Global Trading and Tradewinds Logistics are directly linked in the United States. Heptagon Global Trading, UAE, has a branch in Texas, USA, whose director is Justine Hargrove. The same name is listed as the chairman of the Tradewinds Logistics branch in Florida. Both companies – Heptagon Global Trading and Tradewinds Logistics, share the same address – 10687 Gaskins Way, Suite 105, Manassas 20109 VA, United States (see the document library below). However, there are no public records about their owners. Tradewinds Logistics is registered as an offshore company in Delaware, USA. According to the company’s website, Tradewinds Logistics provides secure transport, secure inland escort and the majority of its staff hold US Security clearance,meaning that they perform work for the US Government.
The company manages DOD Supply Chain Operations in Saudi Arabia and seeks to hire a senior program manager for deployment in the Gulf region.
According to leaked documents, the American contractors transported 11,000 pcs. of Serbian Grad rockets in 2017 and 2018, and 9,000 pcs. of Grad rockets in 2019. The weapons were exported on truck from Serbia to the port of Burgas in Bulgaria from where they were re-exported by sea to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
2,000 pcs. of Serbian Grad rockets from Krusik were exported from Burgas to Jeddah on 16 July 2019 on the general cargo vessel Jork, sailing under the flag of Antigua Barbuda.
The general cargo vessel Jork transits the Bosphorus en-route from Burgas to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 17 July 2019 (Source: Yörük Işık )
Saudi Arabia has purchased a total of 1,286,462 pcs. of ammunition from the Serbian arms factory Krusik since 2017.
These exports are just a small part of a covert international weapons shipment network for arming militants in the Middle East. I have published documents and evidence linking these exports directly to Islamic State terrorists in Yemen. I have also published the names and passports of arms dealers and government officials from the US and Saudi Arabia because they must be interrogated and those who arm terrorists must be held to account.
If you have any information about these people, or other illicit arms deals, please, contact me here, and help us to stop the arming of terrorists and to save lives.