Sig Sauer CEOs fined for illegal arms shipments

A black hand gun sits on top of a black plastic box
A Sig Sauer P320 handgun. Photo: wikipedia/Texaswarhawk, CC4.0

A German court has handed several former and current managers from arms company Sig Sauer suspended prison sentences and heavy fines, following their involvement in illegal shipments of 38,000 pistols to Colombia that broke German export laws. The company itself was ordered to repay $12 million.

The case centres on a shipment of pistols from Sig Sauer in Germany to their sister company based in the US (both companies are ultimately owned by German conglomerate L&O Holding). The US Sig Sauer had received an order for pistols from Colombia they were unable to complete, and turned to the German company for help. Strict rules apply to German arms companies, stopping them from shipping weapons to conflict zones (including Colombia), and prosecutors alleged that paper work was falsified to obscure the ultimate destination of the weapons.

In 2014, Aktion Aufschrei – an organisation based in Germany taking action against the arms trade – were sent documents by a whistleblower that showed the final destination was Colombia, not the USA. The organisations lawyer, Holger Rothbauer, told a news website “Sig Sauer just retagged the big boxes and without opening them just delivered them to Colombia.” The documents prompted a four year investigation by German prosecutors.

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