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A400M contracts may not be signed till autumn: EADS chief

Offices searched in French arms sale to Malaysia: source
Paris (AFP) June 1, 2010 - French financial police have searched the offices of naval arms manufacturer DCNS and industrial group Thales in connection with a probe into the sale of submarines to Malaysia, a judicial source said Tuesday. Documents were seized in the operation, which was carried out last week, the source added. Thales declined to comment on the matter. DCNS told AFP it "neither confirms nor denies this information." "A judicial investigation is under way and we can make no comment." The Paris prosecutor's office in March opened an investigation into the 2002 sale following a complaint lodged last year by the Malaysian human rights group Suaram.

The group alleges that Armaris, a subsidiary of Thales and the DCN, as the DCNS was formerly known, paid a commission of 114 million euros (140 million dollars) to the Malaysian company Perimekar, linked to people close to now Prime Minister Najib Razak. Razak in 2002 was defence minister and was responsible for negotiating the contract. Since 2000, the payment of commissions on contracts linked to foreign leaders amounts to corruption under French law. The DCN in 2002 joined Thales and Spanish naval construction group Navantia in a contract to sell Malaysia three submarines for around one billion euros. A spokesman for the Malaysian prime minister's office in late April insisted there was "no case" to answer. He mantained that the deal had been free of graft and that Perimekar had not improperly benefited from it.
by Staff Writers
Amsterdam (AFP) June 1, 2010
The head of European aerospace group EADS said on Tuesday that contracts with clients for the A400M military transporter may not be finalised for several months.

"If it can be done for the summer, that would be best, otherwise it will be in the autumn," Louis Gallois told AFP following a shareholders' assembly at EADS headquarters in Amsterdam.

The aerospace boss said in a weekend interview he hoped to secure contracts for the A400M in the next month, but seemed to temper his comments on Tuesday.

"I said I was hoping for the start of the summer, but it doesn't all depend on me. There is no specific calendar," he said.

"We have to reach an agreement between all seven countries."

The client countries for the Airbus transporter are France, Germany, Spain, Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey.

The seven states, after tense negotiations in the face of production difficulties with the A400M, reached an agreement in March with EADS on sharing out 5.2 billion euros (6.4 billion dollars) in cost over-runs.

The first A400M, manufactured by EADS aircraft unit Airbus, is expected to be delivered to France in early 2013.

Gallois said in the weekend interview that tests flights were "going well" but that there remained "real technical challenges" to overcome.

Answering a shareholder question, Gallois also said that EADS could possibly deliver five Tiger combat helicopters to Germany by the end of the year.

Germany has ordered 80 of the helicopters from Eurocopter, a subsidiary of EADS, but Berlin last month slammed "serious defects" in the 11 models that have been delivered so far.

Eurocopter has said it is working on the defects and would hand over a first two helicopters to Germany for intensive tests in June and July.

"If the trials are successful, we will deliver five helicopters by the end of the year," Gallois said.

Germany has said its military "urgently" needs the combat-ready aircraft in Afghanistan, where it has deployed about 4,300 troops.

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Algeria 'to cut U.S. arms, go Russian'
Algiers, Algeria (UPI) Jun 1, 2010
Algeria's defense ministry plans to cut arms purchases from the United States because of lengthy delivery delays and concentrate on Russian weapons systems, the El Khabar newspaper reports. Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has signed two contracts worth $1.2 billion to deliver 16 Sukhoi Su-30 multi-role fighters to Algeria and six to Uganda, Russia Veomosti daily reported Mo ... read more

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