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Strategic Air Transport: the army Staff searched

The investigation, the precise scope of which is not known to date, is conducted under the direction of the National Financial prosecutor's office before the summer before the Court of Auditors.

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Strategic Air Transport: the army Staff searched
A dozen investigators from financial crime Repression Brigade conducted a series of searches throughout day of Tuesday, October 10, at military staff and with a provider providing large-carrier aircraft to Rental for defense's external operations. Seizures were carried out on servers and computers at [Air] operations Centre and routings (CSOA), specialized headquarters of staff, located in Villacoublay, Yvelines.

The investigation, precise scope of which is not known to date, is conducted under direction of National Financial prosecutor's office, which was seized before summer by Court of Auditors. According to latest information obtained by world, Minister of hosts, Florence Parla, has also seized justice under article 40 of Code of Criminal Procedure, which enjoins any established authority with knowledge of a crime or delict To inform Prosecutor of Republic without delay.

READ ALSO: Armies in a hurry to explain extra cost of military air transport

Juicy Market

In question: The conditions for execution of public contract in 2015 by defence for subcontracting of military strategic transport (i.e. flights between France and abroad), entrusted to French company ICS. A second contract, called "Salis", was passed through a NATO agency to meet needs.

France has no very large-carrier aircraft. It leases m, nourishing a juicy market of Antonov 124, Ilyushin 76 or Boeing 747. With its own planes, in particular A400 M, of which only two copies are available on eleven currently, France covers at best only a quarter of its needs, depending on periods.

The private charterers ' business has flourished in recent years, with withdrawal from Afghanistan and deployments to Sahel, Central African Republic, Iraq and Syria. Strategic transport costs ministry around EUR 160 million per annum (15% of price of external operations), including 50 million to 60 million for air, remainder for maritime.

The opacity of flight management between France and external operating areas had been criticized by Court of Auditors as early as October 2016. The financial court had n referred to "anomalies".

Read our investigation: Military Air transport disorder cases

"Legal fragilities"

In March, deputy ( Republicans) François Cornut-Nice, Rapporteur of defence budget to Finance Committee, had seized case by denouncing, too, "legal, financial and geopolitical fragilities" of market for Gros-porters: Suspicions of favouritism, non-compliance with public procurement code, unjustified excessive tariffs, French dependence on Russian means. His report had remained unanswered by leaders of armies.

A competitor of ICS, SAS company, which already provides Russian Antonovs of NATO contract and would like to take place of ICS during next renewal of Army market scheduled in 2018, also, at beginning of September, denounced irregularities with Army precinct. Without engaging in litigation at this point.

The minister says that she does not want to risk putting French military operations in jeopardy by a lack of planes: "Bal" in Sahel and "Shamal" in Iraq-Syria are currently main consumers of se flights. However, in leasing market, planes are scarce – among m, only fifteen Antonov 124 are available, for example to transport military equipment around world, with three Russian and Ukrainian companies. In order to secure operational needs, at least two contractual solutions are to be maintained, also at end of September CSOA, which advocated renewal of disputed contract with ICS.

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