WikiLeaks Drops New Information Relating To Arms Industry Corruption & War In Yemen

WikiLeaks, a controversial non-profit organization that publishes news leaks, secret information, and classified documents provided by anonymous sources dropped new information relating to "arms industry corruption, France, UAE, Germany and the war in Yemen" today.

This was announced via the organization's official Twitter account.

Along with the announcement, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to the "Yemen Files" section of its official website.

Following the announcement, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to the newest release.

The organization has previously published information pertaining to the war in Yemen. On November 25, 2016, WikiLeaks published a collection of more than 500 (300 emails and 200 PDFs) documents from the United States embassy in Sana'a, Yemen.

The 2016 Yemen Files drop spans the period from 2009 until 2015, when Yemen broke out in war. The period covers Hillary Rodham Clinton's term as Secretary of State, and the first two years of Hillary successor John Kerry's tenure.

"The war in Yemen has produced 3.15 million internally displaced persons. Although the United States government has provided most of the bombs and is deeply involved in the conduct of the war itself reportage on the war in English is conspicuously rare," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said at the time.

The newest release, a secret document from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration, details a dispute over commission payment in relation to a $3,6 billion arms deal between a French state-owned company GIAT Industries SA (now Nexter Systems) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Signed in 1993, and scheduled to be completed in 2008, the agreement relates to the sale of 46 armoured vehicles, 388 Leclerc combat tanks, 2 training tanks, spare parts and ammunition.

The case brought before International Chamber of Commerce was a claim from an Arabian businessman Abbas Ibrahim Yousef Al Yousef. According to Al Yousef, GIAT did not honour a contract to pay him a 6,5 percent ($235 million total) commission on the deal. Through his company Kenoza Consulting & Management Inc., GIAT sent Al Yousef over $195 million, and then stopped paying. The money was registered in the British Virgin Islands.

GIAT's lawyers, documents show, maintained that they had to stop payments, since they became illegal with the transpossing of the OECD Anti-Corruption Convention into law.

"Kenoza intended to commit and indeed committed corruption acts," lawyers claimed.

Al Yousef denied that any part of the commission had been used to bribe United Arab Emirates officials. GIAT did not produce any evidence for the claim, so the ICC Tribunal did not rule on the issue.

The Tribunal did, however, investigate what services Al Yousef provided to justify the commission, finding that Al Yousef did not play an important role in the development of the Leclerc tank. Since Leclerc tanks are fitted with German engines, this was an obstacle and would violate laws forbidding German arms sales to the Middle East.

Al Yousef, however, claims to have successfully lobbied German authorities, subsequently obtaining a waiver from laws forbidding German arms sales.

The lobbying process involved "decision makers at the highest levels, both in France and Germany," but during a witness statement, Al Yousef could not remember the names of any German officials, telling the Tribunal that he had not met with German authorities directly. Yousef, he said, had used lobbyists instead.

Al Yousef, however, told the Tribunal that he had been on a retainer, and that he would have asked GIAT to pay him a million dollars a month for consulting services. That would have brought Al Yousef between $51 million and $60 million, and not $235 million.

Consequently, the Tribunal concluded that "...the contractual commission rates is far above anything that could be justified (...). The remuneration is excessive by the standard which Mr Al Yousef himself set and by any standard which was raised in the arbitration."

Al Yousef was ordered to pay the entire cost of arbitration by the Tribunal, along with a portion of GIAT's legal costs.

WikiLeaks lists Der Spiegel from Germany, La Republica from Italy, and Mediapart from France as media partners.

Since June 2018, according to the Independent, over 300 Yemeni civilians have been killed. According to Al Jazeera, the war in Yemen has displaced millions of people.