Germany investigates a businessman over German electronics in Russian war drones

The German Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating a businessman who may have helped German electronics end up in Russian Orlan combat drones.

As reported by SPIEGEL, The Karlsruhe investigators accuse a citizen named Waldemar W. of selling electronic components for Russian drones of the type Orlan-10 to Russia with his Saarbrücken company.

Waldemar’s company from Saarbrücken shipped components used in Russian Orlan drones – Spiegel

According to the investigation, he shipped the electronics components used in Russian Orlan drones between 2020 and March 2023 – i.e. until long after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Thus, he was covering a significant period of Russia’s full-scale war.

Waldemar W., a German and Russian citizen, is suspected of 26 cases of violating the law on foreign trade and payments, the investigation says.

Electronics components worth $750 thousand were sent to Russia through third countries

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office believes the suspect tried to conceal these exports by sending the electronics components to Russia through third countries, including Lithuania and Dubai.

The total value of the sold electronics is about 750 thousand euros.

Waldemar W. has German and Russian citizenship. The businessman is being held in custody based on a warrant issued by the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe.

German companies supplied drone components to Russia – Spiegel’s research

In June 2023, research by SPIEGEL and the British institute Airwars showed that – contrary to the manufacturer’s instructions – products from the Würth, Infineon and ASM Osram companies were possibly used in the Orlan 10 drones.

The British think tank Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) calls the Orlan-10 Russia’s “most successful” reconnaissance drone. It sits “at the heart of Russia’s combat capability” and enables Russian troops to “rain down accurate fire on Ukrainian forces”.

Initially, the Mannheim Public Prosecutor’s Office was investigating W. Now, Federal Prosecutor General Peter Frank has taken over the proceedings. Waldemar W. is now in custody based on an arrest warrant issued by the Federal Supreme Court.

In December 2022, RUSI investigators accused W.’s Saarbrücken-based company Weicom Components of supplying electronics for Russian reconnaissance drones in their report “The Orlan Complex”.

On 23 June, the EU Council approved the 11th package of sanctions against Russia, mainly aimed at combating the circumvention of existing sanctions.

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