- A new element is emerging in the confusion surrounding the 100 Leopard 1 tanks that RUAG bought in Italy in 2016.
- It has been known since the beginning of the week that Ruag had sold 25 of these Leopard tanks to a German company in 2019. However, this never picked up the tanks.
- Now the company – the German Global Logistics Support GmbH – has spoken up.
- She immediately asks RUAG to make the tanks available for collection in Italy.
Until today, the name of the German arms logistics company was only known to the insiders. Global Logistics Support GmbH, GLS for short, is now speaking up publicly. After repeated inquiries from Radio SRF, she writes and confirms: “In November 2019, GLS bought 25 Leopard-1 A5 main battle tanks from RUAG. As their owner, GLS is currently demanding the surrender of the battle tanks. »
It was announced earlier this week that Ruag sold the 25 tanks four years ago. It was not clear why the GLS never picked up the tanks. The company now explains: “Since GLS has not yet made a final decision on the utilization of the acquired battle tanks, the acquired battle tanks have remained in Italy until now in consultation with RUAG.”
Exactly these open questions regarding “recycling” could now become a problem for Switzerland. Because the sales market for Leopard 1 tanks has changed since 2019 – today GLS could theoretically pass on the 25 tanks to Ukraine. When asked, she declined to comment.
It is also not yet known how Ruag will react to the demands of GLS. However, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) says that it is checking whether the sale of the 25 tanks has already been approved in 2019 and whether a new export license is required today.
GLS insists on “unrestricted ownership”
For the GLS itself there is no doubt about this. She writes: “After GLS had already acquired unrestricted ownership of the battle tanks in 2019, GLS believes that their release does not require the approval of sovereign authorities.” The GLS received this approval in 2019.
If that’s true – and legal steps have been correctly followed – then the situation is different from that of the tank deal with Rheinmetall earlier this year, which the Federal Council vetoed.
Nevertheless, the Federal Council could be tempted this time to stop the deal or the transfer with the argument of neutrality – if GLS were to have plans to deliver the tanks to Ukraine.