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Guerman Goutorov is the chairman of the Canada-based Streit Group, one of the world’s largest private armored vehicle manufacturers.
Streit has production facilities around the world, though most of its armored vehicles are produced in the United Arab Emirates, where Goutorov lives and the company does much of its business.
It has been criticized by the UN Security Council for its involvement in arms embargo violations by the UAE government.
In August 2012, during the height of Libya’s post-Arab Spring civil war, Streit armored vehicles were exported to the country’s interior ministry from the UAE.
While the government of the UAE had approved the transfer and Streit appears to have followed all UAE laws, the UN Security Council said in a report that the transfer was a violation of the arms embargo because no one notified the sanctions committee in advance.
The Canadian government didn’t pursue punitive measures, citing a lack of jurisdiction because it was not responsible for arms shipments between two foreign governments, even if there is a connection to Canada, the Globe and Mail reported.
According to the U.N. Security Council, Streit Group was also involved in violations of arms embargoes against Sudan and South Sudan.
The U.N. asserted that the UAE government “certainly violat(ed) the arms embargo” in 2012 when it exported 30 Typhoon armored vehicles through an intermediary in a $6 million deal that listed the Sudanese police as the end user.
The U.N. said at least one Typhoon vehicle was discovered in Nyala, one of the areas most affected by the conflict in Darfur. Several more Streit vehicles were found in Darfur and in South Kordofan in use by Sudanese security forces, according to sources who spoke to the Globe and Mail on condition of anonymity.
In another case, the South Sudanese military acquired 173 Streit armored vehicles in 2014 through a South Sudanese businessman who the UN Security Council identified as being close to the country’s president. The ATT Monitor reported that vehicles procured from Streit Group production facilities in the UAE between 2012 and 2014 were found in some of the country’s most embattled areas. Photos published by the CBC in 2016 show a Streit vehicle retrofitted with large-caliber weaponry.
A company spokesperson told the CBC that the organization can’t influence what happens to its vehicles after export. Goutorov didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
A representative of Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign affairs department, told reporters that the government is considering signing onto the Arms Trade Treaty, an international agreement that would provide for stricter regulations of military equipment sales.
But while Canadian authorities have not taken action thus far, the U.S. has.
In 2015, the U.S. Commerce Department alleged that Goutorov and Streit USA Armoring LLC, the group’s American branch, caused, aided and abetted illegal exports by shipping vehicles from its U.S. factory to Venezuela via Canada and to the Philippines, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, and Singapore via the UAE.
The charges detail how the company knowingly flouted trade laws in 2008 and 2009 by reselling several armored vehicles to those countries without proper U.S. approval. Goutorov was personally fined $250,000 for his role.
Streit Group’s operations in the U.S. and UAE were collectively fined $3.5 million, of which $1.5 million will be waived if the companies complete a three-year probation period and pay the agreed-upon installments in a timely fashion. The settlement bars Streit Group from denying the U.S. charges.
Goutorov appears in a leaked database of property and residency data compiled by assorted real estate professionals, obtained by the non-profit group C4ADS and provided to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). He is shown in connection with an 4,533 square-foot flat at the Al Yass Tower in Dubai Marina, a property worth about US $2 million today.
This story is part of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium, a collaboration started by OCCRP and Transparency International. For more information, click here.