Illegal trade in defence materiel uncovered in Malaga

Malaga company dismantled for ilegal trade

Illegal trade dismantled by Guardia Civil. Credit:

Investigations have revealed a company in Malaga that exported battle tank engines and parts for armoured vehicles worth up to €2.8 million.

In a report published on Thursday, February 29, details of operation ‘Sabra’ explained how the Guardia Civil has exposed an illicit network engaged in smuggling defence materiel to Saudi Arabia.

This incident unfolded in Malaga, where authorities apprehended one individual and are investigating another for their roles in the illegal trade.

Operation Sabra unveils smuggling scheme

The Guardia Civil’s investigation led to the dismantling of a covert operation. A Malaga-based company, owned by the arrested individual, was found to have exported engines for battle tanks and spare parts for armoured personnel carriers.

The parts have been valued at over €2.8 million, none of which had the necessary Spanish export licenses. The goods, which were falsely declared as civilian truck parts, were destined for Saudi Arabia.

Tightening controls on defence exports

The inquiry further uncovered that the company under investigation also offered technical assistance for modernising various military vehicles for the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces.

These vehicles were subsequently utilised in the Yemen conflict, blatantly disregarding United Nations Security Council resolutions aimed at preventing the escalation of the war.

The strict regulation of defence and dual-use material trade aims to prevent such materials from reaching conflict zones or countries of concern.

Exporters must register with the Ministry of Commerce and obtain a specific license for each shipment, a process overseen by the Interministerial Regulatory Board for the Control of Foreign Trade of Defence and Dual Use Material (JIMDDU).

This system ensures adherence to Spain’s national defence interests, foreign policy, and international obligations, including embargoes.

A blow to illegal arms trade

This operation, carried out by the Guardia Civil’s Information Headquarters with support from its Malaga Information Group, under the guidance of the Central Court of Instruction number 6 of the National Court, highlights Spain’s commitment to upholding international law and preventing the proliferation of military materials to conflict regions.

By halting the operations of the company under investigation, the Guardia Civil has prevented further illegal exports that could exacerbate conflicts like the one in Yemen or affect other Middle Eastern nations.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.