Debris at Beirut’s port after the explosion on August 4. Credit: Hannah McKay/Reuters

by OCCRP and Partners

21 August 2020

The explosives factory that was meant to receive the Rhosus’ cargo also shares an address with ExploAfrica, a company co-owned by the Vieira family. Confidential corporate and government documents shared by the Conflict Awareness Project, a U.S.-based nonprofit, show that ExploAfrica and its affiliates were investigated by South African and Portuguese authorities for obtaining U.S. and Czech weapons that later ended up in the hands of rhino and elephant poachers in South Africa’s Kruger National Parks on the border with Mozambique. Read the Article Here

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Česká zbrojovka je v Mosambiku jedničkou. Pytláci nosorožců ji zbožňují. (Česká zbrojovka is number one in Mozambique. Rhino poachers adore her.)

July 2, 2019

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August 10, 2015

10 August 2015 – In an open letter to the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Conflict Awareness Project’s (CAP) executive director Kathi Lynn Austin called today for a renewed inquiry into an international arms trafficking network alleged to have operated within the country, as well as the role of individuals within the Mauritian government who may have obstructed the investigation. The illicit operation is said to have targeted conflict zones in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Syria.

The government of Mauritius is reputed to be one of Africa’s least corrupt nations. Yet despite calls from an international investigative group and concerned citizens of Mauritius, as well as official pledges to address the matter, an investigation of a transnational arms trafficking operation with potential links to government officials has been stymied.


June 2, 2015

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAGS) decided not to further prosecute the Swiss precious metals company Argor-Heraeus SA, that handled dirty African gold. While Swiss authorities acknowledged that Argor did refine looted gold and violated its duty of diligence, the case was nonetheless closed, a decision met with disbelief by the three NGOs working on the case.

Together with Conflict Awareness Project (CAP), the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) supported a legal complaint filed in November, 2013 by TRIAL (Track Impunity Always), in which the Swiss NGO accused Argor of illegally processing over three tones of pillaged gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the NGOs, this decision undermines international efforts to eliminate the illegal resource trade that fuels conflicts around the world.

Read the Press R...

January 10, 2015

“One of the reasons we see a lot of Kalashnikovs and AK-47s on the black market is because Russia has just upgraded the Kalashnikov, and that has created massive stockpiles of the older models,” said Kathie Lynn Austin, an expert on arms trafficking and the director of the Conflict Awareness Project, an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to investigating major arms traffickers.

Weapons left over from wars are also often trafficked across borders, which was the case after the Libyan revolution in 2011. The New York–based nonprofit Foreign Policy Association says that there are millions of weapons from the conflict and there is little regulation by government officials. 

Read the Article


May 25, 2014

Jersey financial regulators and the police have been accused of failing to act against a firm allegedly involved in moving gold sourced from a war zone.

Swiss company, Hussar Ltd, is nominally owned by a Jersey trust company. It is the subject of an inquiry by Swiss authorities over claims it procured gold from the DR Congo linked to rebel militia, so-called blood-gold. The Jersey Financial Services Commission said Hussar was not a regulated financial company. The allegations that employees of Hussar Limited supplied the metal to Switzerland-based gold refiner Argor-Heraeus SA in the period 2004-5, are being investigated by Swiss regulators.

'Compelling' evidence

Argo-Heraeus has previously issued statements strongly refuting the claims.

The Conflict Awareness Project (CAP), founded by former UN investigator Kathi Austen, claims it has submitted "for...

February 7, 2013

by Kathi Lynn Austin, Special to CNN

Viktor Bout, the poster boy for international arms trafficking, is back in the news. Last week, Bout’s legal defense team submitted an appellate brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. It claims Bout was wrongly convicted of five counts to commit conspiracy and terrorism. It asks for his 25-year prison sentence to be overturned, based on a list of complaints he has repeated before. 

So what’s the news here? 

Ironically, Bout’s appeal helps us better understand specific weaknesses in the U.S. approach for containing the world’s worst arms traffickers – those that intentionally enable terrorists, perpetrators of atrocity and U.N. sanctions-busting.

Read the Article

August 20, 2012

Originally published in The At War blog. The blog typically catches up with black-market arms when they are already in use, as they are in Syria and Libya. We’ve also reported on weapons deals before they become the implements of revolution.

Kathi Lynn Austin is a former United Nations weapons inspector. She is also the executive director of the Conflict Awareness Project, an advocacy group that she founded, “dedicated to investigating, documenting and bringing to justice major arms traffickers, war profiteers, and transnational criminal networks that fuel conflict around the globe.” The views given here are Ms. Austin’s alone, but we have asked Ms. Austin to contribute because as a trafficking expert she can help tease out the ways illegal arms traffic is sustained. — At War

So, you’d like to set up an illegal weapons network in the post-Sept.11 e...

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