tirsdag 16. november 2021

China took control of an Italian military drone maker without authorities knowing it, report says

Two Chinese state firms took control of an Italian military drone maker more than three years ago via an offshore company — without the knowledge of authorities in Italy and Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.  The offshore company, Mars (HK) Information Technology, started the process of transferring Alpi’s technical and intellectual property to a new production site in China, the report said.

Mars had in July 2018 bought a 75% stake in Italian drone maker Alpi Aviation for 4 million euros, or $4.6 million, the Journal reported. Mars also invested another 1.5 million euros in Alpi — an amount Italian police said was a significant overpayment, according to the report. Italian authorities are investigating the 2018 deal, including whether Alpi should have notified the Italian government of the stake sale, as well as whether Alpi had transferred technology and started production in China, according to the report.

Police concluded that Mars was a shell company linked to two Chinese state-controlled firms, the Journal said.